How to Join a Book Club
New Year’s Resolutions. I am sure we have all made far more than we have kept. Last year, I was so fed up with making faulty resolutions that I made one that was seemingly fool-proof: learn to make sushi, that was it. Well, goodbye, 2009 and hello, 2010—I am sadly still homemade sushi-less…
Maybe, this year you have resolved to either start or join a book club. I want to make it just a little easier to achieve this by giving you a step-by-step guide in a mini series that I simply call “How to Start or Join a Book Club”. Each week in January, I will add in more info about how to get started with your new literary ambition. To start off, let’s talk about the easier of the two: how to join a book club.
It can be challenging finding a book group to join, when so many are private, members-only, not-without-an-invitation affairs. Sometimes, joining a book group can be like finding a job, you have to know the right people—you need to network. Ask around. Talk to friends about book clubs they may know or be a part of. Maybe their groups are looking for new members. It never hurts to ask. Make use of distant connections on sites like Facebook to extend your probability of landing a group that is a good fit for you. Some people need to wait months or even years to break into the secret walls of a club, so the earlier you start looking the better.
Of course, not all book groups operate behind closed doors. There are plenty of other ways to find clubs to join, besides networking. The primary difference between a closed group and an open group would be the rotation of members and the tight-knitted-ness of the group. If a club allows anyone to come whenever they feel like it, an intense core of members may never develop. This makes the literary discussions more clinical and to-the-point. Some readers may prefer a 100% on-track chat rather than a 95% off-topic are-we-meeting-to-discuss-the-book-or-to-gossip-eat-and-get-wasted? type of meeting.
Sometimes, if you are lucky a group will be an amalgamation of fresh blood and old bonds. This is the case with the Ann Arbor Classics Book Group; there is a handful of 4-8 members who attend regularly, while other newbies cycle in and out. To me, this keeps things interesting. Some others may not like it. So when deciding whether you are going to seek out a publicly open group or try to join a more exclusive group, you should keep these distinctions in mind.
So if you think a non-exclusive group could be right for you, there are many ways to go about finding one. Of course, there is always good ol’ Google. Simply, input the name of your city combined with book group, book club or book discussion, and see what pops us. The same searches also work on YahooGroups, FaceBook, Meetup and other social networking sites. You can also explore local event calendars, like those hosted by AnnArbor.com and ArborWeb.com. Check out the sites for local or chain book stores, like Nicola’s, Crazy Wisdom, Borders or Barnes & Noble. Additionally, you can visit the local library and search the bulletin boards for fliers or speak to your librarian.
In short, there are many places you can search to find an existing and flourishing book group to join.