Challenge your reading: #1 Join a book club or a reading group

Have you always wanted to challenge your reading? One of the ways to challenge your reading is to join a book club or a reading group. A book club or a reading group consists of a group of people who choose a book to read. Once members have read the chosen book, they get together and talk about it.

There are plenty of benefits of participating in a book club or a reading group. My personal favourites are:

  1. I get to meet other book-loving people and make new friends.
  2. it encourages me to analyse the content and execution of a story.
  3. I am able to share my views with others.
  4. it is an opportunity to learn something new by listening to other people’s thoughts.
Books that have been discussed by my reading groups. One book is missing 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

Books that were discussed in my reading groups. One book is missing: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee

I have experienced 4 different book clubs: at university, with random strangers and among friends. So I thought, “Why not share my experience with readers of this blog?”. Here is a summary of the things I have learned from attending and hosting book discussions:

Book selection

  • Determine the book at least a month in advance. Everyone reads at different pace.
  • Pick books in different genres if you want to attract different types of readers.
  • Alternatively you could choose book-to-movie adaptations to attract non-readers to join. If time permits, you could compare the adaptation and the original source

Food and drinks

  • Provide food and drinks at the discussion. Super enthusiastic host(s) can prepare food according to a theme. An example is Southern food (e.g. fried chicken) for discussion on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
  • If your discussion is done at a café, choose a quiet place that is easily accessible (provide map if possible). Inform attendees that they may have to pay for their own food and/or drinks if the host is not paying for them.
  • Ask attendees to RSVP the event to ensure there are enough food, drinks and seats.


  • Possible topics of discussion include (but not limited to) themes, characters, plot, writing style, quotes, takeaway points.
  • Host can compile all the questions and prepare a question bank.
  • Open-ended questions (e.g. “why”, “how”) generate productive discussions.

Interacting with others

  • Do an icebreaker or introduction session before a discussion. The more comfortable people are at an event, the more likely they participate in discussions.
  • If you would like everyone to speak, you could ask each person to pose a question (round-robin style) instead of the host asking all the questions. If they do not have a question in mind, ask them to select one from a question bank, answer the question and then open the discussion to others.
  • Take a picture and post it in the group’s social media channels. That move is likely to encourage outsiders (if you are open to it) to join in the fun.

Here are some tips for first timers:

If you have any tips for running a book club, feel free to share in the comment box below.

ps: I would like to thank Born and Read for encouraging me to write about my book club experience. Click here to read her tips on keeping the book club magic alive.

This is the first post in a serial on strategies to challenge one’s reading. Keep visiting this blog to find out more strategies. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Challenge your reading: #1 Join a book club or a reading group

  1. Thanks for the mention 🙂 How did your first book club go with To Kill a Mockingbird? Was it a success?

  2. It was great! I’m the most experienced one so I prepared a list of Qs. My friends all enjoyed the format so they said they’d come with questions next time. I’ve handed over the hosting baton to another friend. This month we will discuss ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’. Am looking forward to that! 😀

  3. That’s great news – I’m so glad it was a success. Perks of a Wallflower will be a good one – lots of talking points!!

  4. Yup, I agree. Let me know if you have discussion questions that I should ask 🙂

  5. Pingback: SS Readers Corner | Challenge your reading: #3 Set yourself an amount of books to read

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s