Write | Inspire | Dream
Do you have a TBR (to be read) list that’s overflowing with books you’re dying to read? Well, I have a solution for you. Back in December, my best friend Meghan approached me with a fantastic idea – a monthly book club that’s genre-based, and after the month is up and we’ve done our reading, we meet for wine and appetizers to discuss our thoughts on the book of the month. It’s mid-March when I’m writing this, so thus far we’ve completed two months. But I wanted to share this fun idea with you guys because not only is it a way to break out some of the books you want to read, but you get to do it with a friend(s) and discuss the books while enjoying each other’s company and a glass of wine. What more could a girl need?
How the Challenge Works
When we began the challenge, we decided that we would alternate months on picking the book. Of course you can do this with more than two people and more than one book a month if you’d like. So it’s up to you how to organize your challenge. Meghan and I tossed around the idea of doing more than one book a month, but we both wanted to read other books outside the genre, so we decided on one book a month for the challenge. Next, you decide where to start. In the graphic above, I’ve listed out the genres correlating to months. But if you’re not starting in January, pick the month you’re starting in or choose the genre you’d like to start with first and work you’re way down the list over the next 12 months.
For your monthly meet-up, I recommended doing it at each other’s homes, especially if you have a group. Here’s why! Because Meghan and I are both nerds about books, not only did we get together to discuss the books, but we prepared questions in advance to mull over. So, your meet-up should definitely be in a quiet setting, especially if you have a larger group of people doing the book club. You want to have the time and space to talk about the book, plus it’s fun to prepare the food and cook with your friends.
Book Club: Questions to Ask
Something I loved about studying literature in college wasn’t just reading a new book but the discussions in class. It’s not about what I brought to the discussion but about the many different perspectives other people brought. I loved that I only saw one of the many different perspectives of a novel but got glimpses into several others just through a discussion in class. I find that once I set my sights on “my idea” of a book, it’s hard to change it. But, once I get to talking about different viewpoints with themes, plot points, and characters, I begin to see much more of the book. So, each month, whoever chose the book should also try preparing some fun, thought-provoking questions as well.
Literary Fic., Historical Fic., Classics, Romance, Contemporary Fic.:
- Discuss Theme & Character Development.
- What is the role of the time period and its “current events” in the narrative?
- How well did the author build the world within the novel?
- Historical / Classics: Could the characters realistically live in our time period now?
Memoir / Autobiography, History / Biography, Non-fiction:
- Did you relate to the person in the memoir/ autobiography?
- If you had the chance to ask this person anything, what would it be?
- Do you still have questions unanswered?
- What more would you learn about the person or topic?
- Do you feel the author was honest?
Thriller, Crime, Science Fiction, Fantasy:
- Does the book/ narrative seem realistic?
- Do you feel the author portrayed the genre well?
- Thriller / Crime: Do you feel the author successfully kept you on your toes throughout the novel?
- Fantasy: In the fantasy world created, would you choose to live in the narrative the author depicted?
- Why did you love it/ hate it?
- How could this be adapted into a movie?
- How would a character based on you function in the book?
Track your Progress
If you read a lot and want to start tracking your thoughts on the books that you’ve already read, GoodReads is a fantastic resource that keeps everything together for you. On the site, you can find hundreds of lists from something like the top 100 fiction books of 2020 to something as specific as Best Books to Read When Snow is Falling. They have something for everyone! You can follow your friends, authors, publishers, book reviews, and more. In you’re own “My Books” section, you can track what books you’ve read, want to read, and are currently reading. Once you’ve finished a book, you can leave a review and any notes you have. For example, if you really liked a book and think about a playlist that might go well with it, you can add a note to listen to that playlist the next time you read the book.
I hope you’re excited about the book club genre challenge! Meghan and I have been having a great time with it! If you decide to join us on the journey, let me know in the comments so we can follow each other along! Happy Reading!