How To Not Fail At Your Book Club

Jun 7, 2019

I’ve never been in a book club before. The one I’m currently in started just a few months ago and though I love it, I’ve picked up on struggles that come with reading the same story with a bunch of people at the same time.

Do I need to say said struggle? FINISHING. THE BOOK. ON. TIME. I am the world’s slowest reader and I work at a publishing house, so of course, my work book club members are fast as heck readers! I’m expected to finish 500+ page books in weeks when I generally take a full month to finish a 200-page book. Do you feel my anxiety.

Somehow I’ve kept up. I’ve actually finished books nearing 900 pages in two weeks. You might be thinking: that’s too much, can’t handle that pressure, not into this. Those were my initial thoughts. But I’m here to say that not only is it possible, it’s also a LOT of fun to take on such a challenge. It’s so rewarding.

If you’ve ever struggled with keeping up or if the thought of joining a book club has been intimidating you, this guide should help. Note: If by the end of this, book clubs sound scary and you're a strict solo reader, that’s fine! I don’t blame you! But if you want to have fun with your reading and create a book community among friends, this might be really encouraging!

Also, did you realize that book clubs are a lot like reading for class/courses? It’s pretty much the same thing (minus the papers and grades). So if you’re looking for ways to keep up with class reading, keep scrolling!

*realizes this is basically a guide to read... better* well, we’ll keep going.

book club guide
book club reading guide tip 1
Be honest with your book club. Not everyone enjoys YA. Not everyone can read 200 pages a minute. Remember that everyone reads differently and if you’re going to create a group around a book, everyone has to either be comfortable or willing to read the selection. Communication is kinda the whole point of book clubs, so make sure to tell the group if you’re not interested in reading something. You’ll feel better knowing that you could potentially redirect the book selection instead of giving up mid-read when you knew that was going to happen anyway.

book club reading guide tip 2
If you’re a fast reader, go you! That’s an admirable skill. For others, it can be difficult to keep the reading pace. If you’re a working adult, free time is nearly non-existent. What worked for me: I marked every 100 pages. It felt more do-able when I saw my pace and it's gratifying to reach each mark, like a milestone! What else? Dedicate time frames to pages. What worked for me: I have an hour on my work commute, an hour at lunch, and an hour after work to read - that’s three hours. I dedicated 50 pages for each hour. That’s 150 pages read in a day! As a full-time working adult! Do you understand how incredible that is? And practical. I didn’t make those numbers up.

book club reading guide tip 3
It helps to jot notes during reading sessions. I do my notes (or reactions, rather) for Instagram - you folks LOVE my Harry Potter reactions. But it’s not just for fun. Notes can encourage you to keep going. It’s like “hyping up” the story. It’s also fantastic for talking points at your next meeting. This all culminates into a positive reading experience that encourages you to keep going and showing up to your book club (but if notes stress you out, skip this).

book club reading guide tip 4
Absolutely NO ONE is making you do anything you don’t want to do. Take a break if you need to. Drop the book if you don’t like it. Show up unfinished and join the chat anyway. Most importantly, don’t feel like you’re failing if you don’t finish in time or didn’t enjoy the read. Take it less like an assignment and more like a hobby.

I know this somewhat contradicts all my other tips, but it’s just to say that there’s no pressure. If you’re using this for school, though, you might want to use this last tip LIGHTLY. I ain’t taking the blame for your grades.

I hope this list of tips is helpful and/or encouraging! Are you in a book club? Have you struggled with anything above or have tips of your own to share? Are you now going to try joining/starting a club? Let’s chat! Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram.
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