Should Book Clubs Have Rules?

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In the beginning of “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” written by Grady Hendrix, the main character is participating in a monthly book club meeting. She is supposed to be leading this month’s meeting and is required to give a speech about the book. Shockingly, she did not read the book and when that is revealed the organizer of the book club is appalled.

The opening of the story mentioned above got me thinking. Book clubs present an amazing opportunity for groups of people to get together and discuss topics outside of their everyday lives and build connections. However, the question remains… should book clubs have rules?

Some book clubs have a set of expectations and norms that allow for all participants to have a shared understanding of what will occur at meetings. Book club rules vary for each literary guild but some common mandates include:

  1. Respect the authority of the moderator.
  2. Members will ask questions and discuss answers from pre-approved list.
  3. If someone has not read the book, they should not attend the club meeting.
  4. Stick to the theme of the book, no tangential conversations.
  5. Meetings will start on time.

In contrast, other clubs choose a more fluid structure with less regulations. These types of book clubs may have transient members, less formal structures in terms of the discussion and maybe an extra glass of wine or two around the book discussion table.

Over the past few years, I have participated in a more relaxed style book club dubbed, “The Bookworms.” This group of amazing women come from all different walks of life. With different backgrounds, various age groups and all sorts of differing opinions, our book club is eclectic to say the least.

“The Bookworms” don’t follow rules, mostly because we don’t have them. Didn’t read the book, don’t worry you’re invited to the meeting! Running a little late because you had work, no problem we’ll be here with a glass of wine. Our book club is about true friendship. This kind of friendship doesn’t have requirements; it has hugs, laughs and occasionally tears.

No matter what type of club you are looking for, book clubs can provide community connections and elevate our understanding of the world around us through literary works.

Find your bookish tribe, love them hard, and let’s talk books!

Recommendations: If you don’t know of any local book clubs you want to join, you still have a few options. There are virtual book clubs on various online platforms. I really enjoy Instagram for connecting with other bookish people. You can go online and search the hashtag #Bookstagram to find other people talking about books on this platform. Also, you can always start your own club. Pick some friends and a book and it’s official… you are a book club!

PS. Looking for some books that feature book clubs? Here are two of my current favorites!

“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

“The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Killing Vampires”

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