Is your book club in a rut? Life getting too hectic and need a shorter read or a break from reading altogether? Don’t worry! Whatever the reason you want to try something new, we’ve got you covered.
Earlier in our How to Book Club series, we shared what to look for in book club books, and how clubs actually choose their next read. But what about when the same old books are taking the pep out of your club? Here are our top ten book club suggestions to shake up your club’s reading and meetings.
CHANGE UP WHAT YOU READ | For when you just need to mix things up a little bit
Try a new genre: Does your club mostly read contemporary fiction? Try a biography or memoir for a change! Read a lot of non-fiction? How about a sci-fi book? Pick a new genre together, or shake things up even further by spinning a wheel or picking a genre from a hat! In addition to general and literary fiction, the Bookclubs newsletter provides monthly recommendations for historical fiction, fantasy and mystery / thriller books.
Pick a theme: Choose a book from another country or culture. Read a book that goes deep on a topic in current events (my club, which mostly reads contemporary fiction, is currently reading Empire of Pain, a fascinating read that explores the role of the Sackler family in the modern opioid epidemic). Read and prepare a few dishes from a cookbook - many modern cookbooks are part memoir and part cultural exploration in addition to recipes. The possibilities are endless.
Take it back to a classic: Instead of reading something new, try re-reading a classic from your youth. My club was transported back to our childhood while reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.
Read something seasonal: Consider reading a book that centers on an upcoming holiday. Or take advantage of the many holidays and months celebrating different people and heritages to check out a new author. Pride month is coming up in June; consider reading a book by an LGBTQ+ author or centering an LBGTQ+ character.
READ SOMETHING SHORTER | For when you want to spend less time reading while still experiencing some amazing writing
Read short stories: The great thing about reading short stories with your book club is that even members who haven’t finished the book can fully participate in the discussion. As an extra discussion question for short story collections, discuss any themes that unite or connect the stories in the collection. My club enjoyed Dear Life, by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro.
Read poetry: There are many ways to read poetry with your book club! One month, my club read Devotions, a collection of poems by Mary Oliver. Each member could read as many or as few poems as they liked, but they had to pick at least one to read aloud to the group and then explain why they had chosen it. I loved hearing why each poem had struck a chord with people.
Read an article: There’s so much excellent long-form journalism out there, including true life stories that are wilder than fiction. Did you know that you can easily attach an article link to a meeting when you use Bookclubs? Just click the checkmark next to “Add link for article, film, podcast episode, or other meeting material” and then paste your link. (If your club isn’t using Bookclubs to organize your meetings, sign up for free today)
DON’T READ ANYTHING AT ALL | For when you really need a break and don’t want to do any reading between meetings at all!
Watch a movie: Whether you’re watching a book adaptation or any other movie that piques your interest, why not make your next book club meeting a movie night? Watch ahead of time and discuss together, or bust out the popcorn at your meeting.
Listen to a podcast: We all love podcasts for giving us a laugh or allowing us to learn something new while on the go. Next meeting, try discussing one of your favorite podcast episodes together.
Do a table reading: Our team member, Carrie, recently did a table read with her book club. She reports, “My book club tried something different last month. Instead of reading a book and discussing, we decided to do a table read of the screenplay for the 1950 film, All About Eve. Initially, we narrowed down 4 screenplays of movies or television episodes and then voted. For the meeting, I put all the characters in a hat and we drew our parts. I printed out the scripts and we sat around the table and read/performed the movie. It was a lot of fun!” Your club could do this with a movie, or with a play. Depending on the length, you may need to split it into more than one meeting.
Has your book club ever switched up what you read or discuss? What did you do? Share in the comments below!