What To Do When You Haven’t Read Your Book Club Book

What To Do When You Haven’t Read Your Book Club Book

Haven’t Read Your Book Club Book

We’ve all been there: The meeting is around the corner, but you haven’t read your book club book. Don’t panic. Here, we’ve rounded up your options for handling your next book club meeting. Whether you plan to cram, skip out, or simply listen to everyone else at the meeting, we’ve got a coping strategy for you.


Consider cramming

If there’s still a little time before the meeting, you might be able to read part of the book. One particularly speedy way to do this is by listening to the audiobook. This way, you can double task. Particularly ambitious readers can even speed up the recording.


Sit it out

Maybe you’re a purist and you believe that you shouldn’t attend the meeting if you haven’t read the book. This is always an option. It means you’ll miss out on the fun, but it also means you won’t have to worry about spoilers.


Watch the movie

Maybe your book club’s selection has been adapted into a movie. If you have time, check out the adaptation. You’ll still want to come clean to your club, but at least appreciating the adaptation will allow you to weigh in on basic plot points and follow the conversation.


Consult the critics

Peruse a few reviews and familiarize yourself with the book’s critical reception. Is there a scene that multiple reviewers called out? Is there a killer opening line? Check it out. You can even skip around in the book to read the parts most likely to warrant discussion.


Check your shelves

Have you read something else by the author of your book club book? If so, consider chiming in about that at your meeting. Are your club-mates discussing something unique to the author’s writing style? You’ll be well positioned to speak up about their other work.


Take it all in

You can always still attend your book club meeting and admit that you haven’t read the book. You can enjoy the conversation, relish in your friends’ insights, and get extra motivation to read next month’s book.

Elizabeth Rowe
Elizabeth is Bookish's Senior Editor and a graduate of Columbia University's MFA program in Nonfiction Writing. She is based in San Francisco and can frequently be found at Philz with her nose in a book. Her current obsession is the My Struggle series by Karl Ove Knausgaard, and she thoroughly embarrassed herself when she met him shortly after the release of volume four (and she has the photos to prove it).


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