Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Post: Melissa Foster

Book Clubs, What’s the Buzz? by Melissa Foster
I LOVE book clubs! It’s that simple. Sure, you think I love them because I’m an author and readers will buy my books, but I spend more time with my book club members than I’ll ever make off of the books that they buy. What makes books clubs so fun for me is the camaraderie. I’ve found book clubs to be more clearly defined as a gathering of like-minded people, who happen to be getting together under the premise of reading and discussing books.

Here are a few things that I have discussed in recent book club chats:

1.     The weather
2.     Any particular member’s new blouse, skirt, jeans, shoes, purse, wallet, sweater, briefcase, etc.
3.     Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie followed by Jennifer Anniston and a collective sigh.
4.     Dessert
5.     Which wine to order
6.     Dessert
7.     Spouses, kids, parents
8.     Great vacation spots
9.     How long we could stay around the table instead of going home to deal with real life

Keeping a book club running smoothly and continuing to keep the members interested can be quite a challenge, not to mention choosing books that everyone will enjoy. I run an online book club on The Women’s Nest, and we usually have a handful of readers, but we’re always looking for new and exciting things to offer, such as author chats. Here are a few tips for running a fun and interesting book club:

1.     Have members offer suggestions each month for the following month and then run a poll for the members to vote on the book
2.     Establish one member to head up the discussion each month, and be sure to allow everyone a chance in the position
3.     Good food never hurts
4.     Mix up your discussions, for example, try something fun like an “in-character” discussion where one member plays the part of one of the characters and answers the questions in character.
5.     Invite an author every now and again. Many of us love to chat with book clubs.
6.     Every once and a while read a book that is connected to a movie and watch the movie with your book club members. What could be more fun than a group and some popcorn?!
7.     Wine never hurts.

Kudos to book club managers and to the members! Commitments are hard enough to keep in our busy lives, and making time for reading and sharing are areas of our lives to be valued. Good times, good friends, and good reads.

One of my favorite things to do is to chat with book clubs. If you read my books, invite me to your meeting! Skype, in-person, or online. We’ll have a good time!


  1. Fun post. Our book club discusses many things besides book as well.

  2. Got to love when like-minds are placed in a room together…ah the tangents.

  3. My book club has met for a year and we always have different opinions about the books. None of us mind -- it makes for good discussions. And we go off on tangents all the time.

  4. Thanks for the post. I love bookclubs, too. I've got some ideas and recipes at that you might be able to leverage in one of your 2012 gatherings.

    Hugs and happy reading.

  5. Great post! I feel the same way.

  6. Great post. I feel the same way about book clubs. I miss mine!

  7. Years ago, we had a book club and we even had a name: Voracious Readers and Eaters. We'd base our food of the night around the theme or places in the book we had read. It was so much fun. Lots of interesting conversation and plenty of tasty treats. I miss mine. We call got busy with children and work and it dissolved. This post inspires me to get one going again!

  8. I hadn't ever seriously considered a book club before, although my wife just started getting together some of her friends for one based on facebook.

    I'll be sure and forward this post to her.

    Book clubs would previously have come under the heading of "never joining any group that would have me as a member" But, I've realized of late that I AM a member of several groups that seem to be happy to have me, and I enjoy those groups. Who'd a thunk it?

    I just joined WLC this evening for instance.

    Thanks for this, Melissa - great stuff in here.


  9. Hi everyone! I'm meeting with a large book club group next week via Skype and another in February in-person. I have to admit, clubbing (of the non-alcohol and book related kind) is my very fave way to discuss books! Love the camaraderie and meeting all the people. Differences in opinion make it all so much more interesting.
    Thank you for taking the time to read my post.


  10. Yay book clubs! This is a great post!

    I love my book club. We've been meeting for just over two years. We started with five women and now have nine regulars, as well as a few who pop in and out depending on what we're reading. We call ourselves the Badass Book Club.

    Your tips for running a fun and interesting book club are spot-on. We always eat dinner together to get things started, and we typically have more desserts than we'll ever be able to finish. When I learned that one of our members had never had a Jell-O shot, they became a part of our regular meetings, too.

    One of my favorite things about our book club is that it brings a diverse group of interesting women together. We are not all like-minded, and my fellow book clubbers often challenge my beliefs and ideas in ways that I would otherwise never experience.

    I use book clubs in my college English courses too, and students often report book club was their favorite part of our class in class evals. How cool is THAT?

  11. Hi Melissa,

    There currently aren't any book clubs in my area. I've been told my books would be good for book clubs, as they're sweet, funny romances, that would be good for discussion and fun to read. Any suggestions on finding good online clubs who are looking for books to read? Thanks! Love your WLC :)


  12. Ruth -
    Sounds like you could pull together a great book club right there in your area to close that gap.

    As far as online, I really enjoy the groups on Have you tried that website?
    Hugs and happy reading~
    Nancy Naigle

  13. Thanks, Nancy, I'll check that out :)

  14. interesting... must become a member of the book club...

  15. Dear Melissa,

    I loved this and I agree with you. I really liked this.

    Syl Stein


  16. The book club I'm in ranks books from 1-10. Most months, it's half the people giving it a 2 or 3, the other half an 8 or 9. As an author I love finding out what readers think makes a book a good one.

  17. Our book club has been meeting for 13 years - more than 150 books read. The person hosting gets to choose the book. Ensures an eclectic reading list. If you choose a "Big A**" book - more than 450 pages - you have to give two months notice. We invite authors from time to time and that always goes over well. I was happy to be the featured author one month! Wine and food always!

  18. I have a long-time book club too--10 years! We're getting ready to plan a trip to celebrate the anniversary and starting next week, I'm going to start visiting local book clubs to talk about my novel. I'm very curious to see how other clubs are run :-).

  19. Believe it or not, I've never been a member of a book club! But I want to be! Thanks for the post -- if I can't find one that I like, I'll simply start one! lol

    Suzan T

  20. My book club just celebrate 10 years. 94 books later, marriages, sadness, happiness, illnesses, yoga--all plus mimosas.

  21. I just recently joined a book club at a local pub. It's called Books & Beer. Our motto? We may not finish the book, but we always finish the beer!
    Great group and we discuss way more than books. It's a great diversion from the mundane daily grind, and the people are wonderful!

  22. Sounds like you'd be a great guest at a book club! The best part of these gatherings is that people genuinely enjoy getting together to focus on the reading. The pressure is in finishing each book between sessions, but ultimately everyone I know who does this loves it.

  23. Melissa, I absolutely love the idea of "in-character" improvisation followed by questions~ while maintaining the qualities distinctive of the individual. How fun and how very true to the 3-dimensional persona in which you mention quite often!
    We should be thanking you for providing excellent tips and teaching in the manner of absolute respect and regard for the many you have successfully touched.

  24. Has anyone ever done a book club online? I'd love to join in on one as I live in a small community and hardly know anyone.

  25. Hey gang, thank you all for stopping by!! Some asked about where to find book clubs. Join Facebook groups and Goodreads groups, reach out to meet others. It's all worth it -total fun!!!


  26. Thanks for the post, Melissa. I would be lost without my book club of many years. I'm an author, but first and foremost I'm a reader, and the reading experience has never been more important to me than now.

    Frederick Lee Brooke

  27. I love getting ideas about new ways to get to know readers, as far as authors are concerned and wondered if you've done "Skype" interviews with book clubs Melissa.
    Since I live in CA, and have a theme about uprooting or 3 sons from Orange County, CA materialism to a tropical island in Belize, I would love to try Skyping book club members who might also enjoy a glass of virtual wine :)


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