How to Start a Book Club
by Daphne Wesselo

What is a book club? It is a group of friends/acquaintances that are like-minded about what they enjoy reading and would like to share their experience with others in the reading of a certain title or author. 
In our case: we are a group of Christian ladies. In the beginning - before I was around - they were all members of one church. The books would all be Christian based and could be fiction or non-fiction; historic or contemporary; informative or just fun.  As long as the basis was ‘soul-stretching’.  Some members through the years moved away or moved to other churches but kept coming. We met on an evening or morning, once a month, at one of the members’ homes in the same area.  Coffee/tea, eats (one savoury and one sweet) were to be provided (as with ladies and church) and was the responsibility of the hostess of the evening. This is the fellowship part after we have each reviewed our books. We each pay a nominal amount and the next hostess will be given that ‘fee’ to purchase the books of her choice.
 
How did I become part of the book club?  I was invited by a friend from church. Sometimes friends of members would want to join and these are then invited if numbers allow.  Because we met at private homes, the number had to be kept manageable, as the book reviews take time. Also catering becomes challenging.  Six to eight members is a good start.
 
How do you choose titles?  Whatever is new on the shelves or the newest number in a series or something of interest to the person whose turn it is to host. They will also, at the beginning of a meeting, introduce the books they have bought and review them if they have already read them.  These are then numbered and put into the club and when everyone has had a turn to read, they get their own books back. 
     
Some of the benefits I have experienced in belonging to a book club:  
First of all, it brought me back to taking an interest in new authors and making the time to read.  It's one of the pleasures that gets lost in the ‘busyness’ of our lives.
I now read a book differently because I must ‘retain‘ enough about it to tell others what was good or maybe not-so-good about it for me.
The fellowship over coffee and tea leads to sharing of recipes and problems and lots of laughter as well.
 
Would I encourage others the belong to a book club? 
Most certainly.  I look forward to it every month and I have learnt so much from other Christian ladies I would never have spoken to in the depth of the discussions we now have. I also have access to books I would never have been able to have before.