High Street

How To Start A Book Club


Walthamstow Library

Finding time to stop and read a book shouldn’t be a chore, although with the hectic lifestyle adopted by nearly all city dwellers, the thought of taking time out to read a book is often seen as a luxury. For those who don’t get the chance to read on their daily commute book clubs offer a social alternative. However, if you don’t fancy discussing a book in front of strangers, why not start your own? Email a group of friends, all with similar tastes in literature, and get a gang together.

The aim of the book club is not to make people feel as though they are reliving their high school English classes, but to create a lively and informed discussion. Once you have carefully selected the members for your book club, it is then time to choose a meeting place. This could rotate between each other’s houses or the local pubs. Why not try and theme your venues to fit the books you are reading, for example if you are reading The Goldfinch why not head to a local art gallery like The William Morris Gallery? The important thing is to remain on topic, so make sure you plan a venue with few distractions.

Deciding on the books can be challenging so why not allow members to choose their own books to discuss, with the group favourites becoming the chosen reads. This way, everyone has something that they are passionate about and there will hopefully be a balance between contemporary and classics as well as light and heavy going reads. Alternatively, GoodReads has a long list of popular book club choices, voted in by their community of readers, ensuring that you will never be stuck for ideas.

The last thing to remember is making a schedule. This is crucial, as before you know it life will intervene and people will get booked up. Setting realistic deadlines makes it easier for people to incorporate reading into their daily routine and helps them to remember when the next meeting is. Just try to make the meetings an occasion, so that people will be more inclined to turn up and go that extra mile when it is their opportunity to host.

Feeling inspired? Here is a list of our favourite book club venues and the books that we feel would suit the venue:

Indian Restaurant E17

Photo: Dhaka Tandoori

Hillman’s Tea RoomRebecca by Daphne de Maurier: Take a trip back to the forties, dress code optional, and imagine yourselves as Rebecca as you indulge in a spot of afternoon tea. What would Mrs Danvers think of the scones, tea and cakes?

Le DeliceHow To Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Caroline de Maigret: Are you searching for that certain Je ne sais quoi? Dig out your old Breton striped top and head down to Le Delice to discuss the magic of Parisian style whilst sipping a piping hot café au lait.

Dhaka TandooriThe Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C Morais: Let the rich and exotic flavours of Indian cuisine be your guide to the life of this book’s protagonist, Hassan Haji. In this book club meeting, you will let the food do the talking as you discuss the struggle of this talented chef.

Can you think of any good locations for a themed book club meeting? Tweet your ideas to us @WstowWeekender

Photos and Words: Grace Molan