How to Start a Book Club

Category: Life

There’s no denying that books and wine make a great pair. And what better way to enjoy both than with friends? We’ve teamed up with Penguin Publishing Group to show you just how easy it is to kick off that book club you’ve been meaning to start.

Step 1: Have a book club brainstorm. Think about what kind of books you’d like to read. [Are you a mystery buff? Or are you eyeing the latest bestseller?] It’s helpful to decide if you’d like to center your club around a genre or theme--or if you don’t have a preference! Another important question to ponder: how often you’d like your club to meet. You can always change it up once things get rolling, but we recommend meeting monthly.

Step 2: Once you’ve hammered out the details, invite some friends! Most people love the idea of a book club, but sometimes it can feel like a big decision to commit. It doesn’t have to be! Give your friends an overview of what they can expect –monthly meetups, discussion questions, and plenty of snacks and wine, of course! Start a group text, email chain, or Facebook group to keep track of plans.

Step 3: Select a book! There are so many great books out there and sometimes selecting just one can seem a bit daunting. If you picked a theme for your club, use that as a jumping off point. Contact your pals to see what they’re interested in reading. Once your book club gets started, you can rotate selection between members. Another option is to hold a group vote at meetings. Whatever book you select, make sure it’s long enough to encourage a good discussion, but short enough for people to finish on time.

Pro-tip: Browse bestseller lists, book reviews, or Penguin.com for inspiration!  

This month we’re reading Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak, a warm, wry, and sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays. 

Step 4: Get busy reading! While you relax on the couch with book in hand, help yourself to a glass of Porter & Plot Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect match for a cozy night in. Reading a few chapters a night before bed is not only be a great way to wind down, but will also help you chip away at the book in time for your monthly meet-up.

Step 5: Gather! As the founder of a book club, you may enjoy hosting the first meeting. But, though you might have started the club, you don’t have to host every meetup. Change locations and take turns hosting amongst members. Make sure to break out the wine to fuel discussion! This month we’ll be sipping on some Rosa Obscura Red Blend. We think it pairs perfectly with Seven Days of Us, the heartwarming—and very relatable—tale of the Birch family holiday. 

Step 6: Let the discussion flow. There are no rules once everyone gathers, but it can be helpful to have a discussion guide to spark conversation. Come up with your own focus questions as a group or use a reading group guide. Encourage friends to come whether or not they have finished the book. As long as they don’t mind spoilers, it can still be fun to participate -  plus, there’s wine!

Pro-tip: It’s easy to find reading group guides online! Guides often come with questions and other fun material, like author interviews, games, or recipes. Check out Penguin.com for lots of great guides, including the one for our current read, Seven Days of Us.

Happy reading!