How to Make New Friends: Book Clubs for Women

How to Make New Friends: Book Clubs for Women

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Book Club

Have you been wondering how to make new friends?  Book clubs for women are a great way to meetup with other women that are in the same season of life.

A few years ago, I realized that my Favorite Son and Favorite Daughter were getting older and they started doing some strange things…………like not needing me quite so much. “No, Mom, I got that.” Or “So and so’s mom is giving us a ride.” Or “No, I can’t go to Disneyland with you because I’m hanging out with my friends.” These became familiar refrains in our house and on Saturday night my husband and I were sitting there looking at each other realizing that the kids had their own plans and we needed to get a life.

Time to Make New Friends

Out of these thoughts came the realization that it was time to make some new friends. I love spending time with my husband but, I love it even more when we both have our own interests and then have something new to share when we are together.

So I started to come up with ideas on how to meet people and saw something in a magazine on book clubs for women and had an aha moment. Now I love to read. No……….I mean I LOVE to read. Nothing makes me happier than to have my nose in a book, but I am acutely aware that many do not share this interest.

Could I find enough other women who liked to read and, more importantly, would we like the same kinds of books? Life is too short to read books you don’t like.

Find Your Fellow Readers

To find book club women you first need to reach out to the one or two local friends you know that like to read, too. My friend M and I had a conversation about each of our visions for book clubs for women. Make sure you do this.

People have different ideas about reading. Some want to read high falutin’ fare like Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch, others are looking for an easy, fun read like Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and others want something in between like Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. (For the record, Goldfinch was a d*&# good book and a Pulitzer Prize Winner).

Pick a Favorite Genre

Once you have a general idea of everyone’s reading style, it’s time to talk genre. Will your book club be open to reading all genres or will you focus on one or two favorites? For instance, originally our book club women were most interested in historical fiction and thrillers so that is what we focused on. Over time, it’s stayed fairly consistent because we clearly have a preference.

Do your book club women have any absolute Do Not Read categories? A couple members have some clear ideas of types of books that they just won’t read, such as the horror genre. Discuss this up front.

You also might want to discuss how long is too long. Our group said they tap out at 450 pages so no reading of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind for this group (one of the BEST examples of historical fiction EVER).

Pick a Meeting Place

Where will you meet? The library or a coffee shop? We rotate through each other’s homes. If it is your turn to host, you provide light snacks and drinks, create (or find) the discussion questions, and lead the discussion. Ideally, when the member hosts they are leading a discussion on the book they selected.

Once you and a few core founding members have a few guidelines in place now is the time to go in search of new members. You kind of want a smaller group. Remember this is supposed to be a book club discussion. The bigger the group gets, the harder it is to steer a conversation and stay on topic. Six to twelve book club women members seems ideal.

Build a Facebook Group Page to promote your book club and reach out to your local contacts. This page is also where we keep our event list with dates and addresses.

Your first meeting should have a Get to Know You flavor with the express purpose of picking books. Share the reason you assembled: We want to get together ____ a month to discuss books from x and y genres that are less than ______ pages. We aren’t interested in reading _________.

How to Select Your Books

Our book club has tried a couple of ways of selecting books and this year I think we found the one that works the best. We used to show up to our local bookstore (shout out to Barnes and Noble), then we would get a table in the coffee shop, and proceed to select several books and bring them back to the table and discuss them. Once we reached a consensus, those were our books. The problem with this is that some people did not get a book they liked on the list.

We’ve also tried having each person bring one book and we put it on the list. That doesn’t work so great either because there has been no real discussion of the book.

Themes for Book Clubs

Most recently, and most successfully, we enlivened things by coming up with a theme. This year we are reading books from any genre, but the book takes place in a foreign land. Each member found three books they liked and wanted to read and printed off the description and details from Amazon.

We pick nine books per year because we don’t meet in December, July, or August. Luckily, we have nine members. Each of our book club women presented their three books then we voted anonymously and tallied up which book got the most votes. By the end of the night we had nine books on our list, everyone has at least one book they are really excited about, and each person had a say in what we are reading. Here is our 2018-2019 list -hopefully, it will spur some book club ideas:

Crazy Rich Asians

The Light Between Oceans

The House at the Edge of Night

The German Girl

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine


The Romanov Empress

To add a fun twist we are going to try to pair the food menu with the setting of the book. For instance, a little bird told me that The Romanov Empress takes place in Russia and we will be dining on pierogis, Russian tea cookies, and Moscow Mule cocktails. Wish you could all join us! See this related article  for more ways to put a new spin on book club meetings.

Book Club Resources

I almost forgot to tell you about a great resource where you can find discussion questions for most (not all) books: Lit Lovers. For example, I found the discussion questions for Crazy Rich Asians here and simply downloaded it to the Files tab on our private Facebook Group Page. Each member will download, print it, and bring it to our book club.

I’m so grateful that I started this book club with M because these book club women have turned out to be some of my closest friends. My kids definitely got older and Favorite Son even left for college this year. It’s made me reflect on the fact that it is so important to get out from behind our computer screens and connect IN PERSON with real live PEOPLE. People need people ya’ know. Happy reading!

How to make new friends-start a book club. Picture of lamp over a pile of books.
How to Make New Friends: Start a Book Club

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