Looking to start a book club? You’ve come to the right place. Here at Bookish, we’re obsessed with book clubs–being in them, writing about them, making kits for them, and recommending books for them. We know there are a million ways to host a great book club meeting. This is why we’ve rounded up 21 unique ideas so the book club you create can best reflect you and your fellow bookworms. What are you waiting for? Read on, pick your favorite, and then get started!
One of the easiest ways to give your book club a strong focus is to read books from a single genre. Dedicate your book club to reading the genre you love most, whether that’s romance, true crime, poetry, historical fiction, or something else! This is a great way to look at how themes, tropes, covers, and more evolve and change in a single genre over time.
Can’t decide if you want to start a movie club or a book club? Try both with an adaptations club! Members can read books that were later turned into movies or TV shows, and then watch the adaptations. You can discuss the similarities and differences, and of course, which one you enjoyed more. (Hint: The book is always better).
Pick a theme, not a book
One of our team members is in a book club where members pick a theme each month and everyone can read any book that fits that prompt. Your discussions will be wide-ranging and unpredictable, and no one ever has to worry about being forced to read something they don’t want to.
Head to the kitchen
If the wine-and-dine element of most book clubs appeals to you, consider starting a cookbook club! Each member can sign up to create one of the book’s dishes and then meet up later that month to eat, drink, and discuss!
Focus on identity
One of the more popular public book clubs is Well-Read Black Girl, a group that celebrates the contributions of black female writers. Creating your own group can be an incredible opportunity to explore race, sexuality, gender identity, religion, and more through the power of literature!
“So many books, so little time” is the favorite refrain of a reader. We all have gaps in our literary education, but if you’d like to fill in some of yours consider starting a classics book club. This is a great way to finally tick off those books you feel everyone (but you) has read–whether it’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, or even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series!
Spotlight an author
Do you love Jane Austen most ardently? Does Stephen King make your heart beat faster? Consider dedicating your book club to reading works by (or about!) your favorite writer. You can aim to get through all of their published works, or you can switch things up every year by picking a new writer.
Go for audio
In many book clubs, members read the book in whatever format best suits their preferences. But an audiobook club adds an extra layer to the discussion: the narrator. Groups will find their conversation touching on not only the plot, characters, and author, but how well the narrator captured the voice of the story.
Comics and graphic novels combine compelling stories with stunning artwork. A group dedicated to reading these stories can easily talk for hours about these slim volumes that pack a huge punch.
Read like the stars
Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Watson, and more stars are constantly sharing the books they’re excited about. You and your group can pick your favorite celebrity and read along with them as they announce new book club picks!
Silent book club
In traditional book clubs members show up having read the book, but there’s a lot to be said for sharing the experience of reading together. Consider starting a silent book club where members read together quietly and then discuss! You can either split the book into sections for separate meetings, or even invite members to read whatever they want and use discussion time to share what everyone decided to bring.
Think you can tackle discussing more than one book at each meeting? Start a retellings book club. Members can read the original book and the retelling to have a conversation that compares the two side-by-side.
Podcasts for bookworms are incredibly popular these days, and it isn’t hard at all to read along with your favorite podcasters. Pick a podcast your book club members all enjoy (our current favorites are Black Chick Lit and Fated Mates), read the books recommended, listen to the episodes, and meet to discuss your thoughts and how they match or differ from those of the hosts!
Bring home the gold
Readers who love a good list will find a lot to enjoy in a club based around award winners. Your group can choose to tackle the National Book Awards, the Goodreads Awards, or the Hugos, Edgar Awards, or more!
Rory Gilmore book club
Stars Hollow fans, this one’s for you. We bet you’re familiar with Rory’s literary obsession in Gilmore Girls, and interested readers can tackle all 339 books mentioned in the show.
This book club recognizes that the best part of being a reader is sharing your favorite books. Each member can take a turn sharing one of their most beloved books with the group, and as you read you’ll also get to know your friends better!
One tequila, two tequila
If you’re looking for a book club that celebrates a love of both books and a well-crafted cocktail, then we’d recommend starting a Tequila Mockingbird book club. Pick up this book of drink recipes inspired by different novels, and then read (and drink) your way through.
Is your book club made up of series-ous readers? Okay, that pun worked better in our heads, but you get the point. Most books clubs focus on standalones and don’t wade into the waters of multiple-book series. If your group is up for the challenge, consider tackling an entire book series by reading one installment per meeting. Start small with a duology and work your way up to longer-running series from there. This is also an ideal approach for a comics-focused book club to take!
Read for a cause
Amnesty International’s book club pairs gripping reads with information about the real world events that inspired them and how to give to organizations fighting for human rights around the globe. Your group can discuss together how to best give back based on the books you read, whether it’s volunteering or donating. For example, a sci-fi novel set in a world shaped by environmental disaster could inspire you to make a gift to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Combine your interests
One of the Bookish editors is in a running book club,where the books (both fiction and nonfiction) are all united by a common theme: running! If your group of readers shares a career or hobby, consider a book club inspired by those shared interests.
New year, new theme
Having a themed book club is an exciting idea, but if the idea of choosing one feels impossible, consider test driving them all! Your book club can change themes after a full year or even halfway through to help discover what works best for you.