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Why Join a Book Club?

Why Join a Book Club?

Reading is a solitary pastime. For the most part that is what people enjoy about a book, the pleasure of escaping into another time and place for a little while. But sharing your thoughts and perspectives on that book can be just as rewarding.

There are a lot of jokes about book club members meeting and never getting around to talking about the book. Some book clubs meet and enjoy shared food and wine. Some meet online on forums like Goodreads where people can share their views and ratings of the books they have read virtually. I have some pretty firm ideas about what makes a good book club and I am really lucky to facilitate one of these.

  • A good book club meets at regularly. I suggest monthly so there is plenty time to read and digest the book to be discussed.

  • The choice of books should vary. You should consider including a variety of genres, diverse subject matter and authors from a range of nationalities. Part of being a member of a book club is that you are challenged to read books that you normally wouldn’t consider. This opens a whole new world to the reader including new authors, genres and cultures.

  • A good book club is one that keeps the discussion focussed on the book. There is no harm in having a pre or post meeting catch-up with your fellow readers but if the discussion strays from the book and side conversations take place everybody loses. The “one voice” rule is a must and it allows everyone a chance to share their thoughts and questions and be heard. This enriches the experience for everyone involved and ensures that the book is fully explored by everyone.

  • It helps if you have an opinion on the book e.g. liked or hated it, that you have examples to support this. Some good starter questions to get the discussion going are:

  • Was the prose particularly good/bad?

  • Did the story keep you interested?

  • Were the characters believable?

  • Was the plot easy to follow?

  • Was there a moral dilemma that intrigued you?

  • Was the dialogue authentic?

  • Did you learn something that you didn’t know before?

  • Did the book change your mind about something?

In a good book club these questions will evolve into a larger discussion. It can be helpful to take notes when you are reading the book, reference a page so that everyone can refer to the point you are making during the discussion.

In the book club I facilitate at Friars’ Gate Theatre, I choose the books for our club. This may sound arbitrary, but my rule is that I can’t have read the book before. I do a lot of research through the best seller lists and literary reviews across the globe. I chose 3 – 4 books in advance which allows the member to source them from libraries, books shops, locally or online. In all, we have read over 100 books at our club. The discussions are lively, and tastes and opinions vary a great deal. Often, we are split down the middle in our end result rating.

After the discussion is over, we rate the book from 1-10 and say whether we would recommend the book to a friend – that say it all!

The Friars’ Gate book club is free and falls on the last Wednesday of every month at 7 pm.

We welcome new members! So if you are looking for a way to spend a stimulating, enjoyable hour or so come and join us.

For more information about the books we will be reading up to Christmas see Friars’ Gate Theatre website:

Look forward to seeing you then!

Book Club – Wednesday 25th September @ 7pm – Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan Wednesday 30th October @ 7pm – Shadowland by Joseph O'Connor Wednesday 27th November @ 7pm - Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart

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