On Thursday night, my book club had its first ever meeting.
It was amazing.
I've always wanted to participate in an offline book club, but never found one that really fit my interests as a reader, or opperated in an informal enough setting.
Thus, Space Cakes was born: an Edinburgh-based book club focusing on Diverse Science Fiction and Fantasy titles.
Our first meeting took place in my flat and we all gathered round amdist cinnabons and purring kittens to discuss K.T. Hanna's CHAMELEON.
I'll admit to being really unsure about how things would go. I was worried people wouldn't have read the book, that opinions would all be the same and encouraging discussion would be impossible, or that our author visit would go poorly. The last time I participated in any kind of group read was in college, where the motivation level was often lacking.
However, the first event went brilliantly. Everyone read and bought the book, and had very different opinions on it, ranging from total fangirl to doubter. Discussion was lively, passionate and animated.
I think for anyone thinking of organising an offline book event that depends on discussion – finding a great core-group of participants is essential. I started by inviting seventeen of my most 'bookish' friends, who read across many genres and have very different academic backgrounds.
K.T. Hanna was a wonderful first author visitor – she answered all our questions and everyone agreed she was lovely.
We are scheduled to run monthly.
Julia's Top Tips for Organising a Book Club
(1) Feed people. No really, this is essential.
(2) Give people enough time to actually read and buy the book. Three weeks at a minimum for longer books.
(3) Don't select an impossibly long title. WIth Fantasy especially, this may limit your selection somewhat, but I wouldn't choose a book longer than 350 pages.
(4) Start off with very bookish friends! But, make sure the people you pick actually have very different reading tastes and backgrounds. Your discussions will be boring if everybody loved the book or thought the same things about the characters.