I want to read more books.
I read a lot of industry articles, longform stories, and Instagram captions, but I haven’t made a dent in my “Books to Read” list which now has over 100 items. I want to read the newest popular fiction making the bestsellers list, and I want to read the classics I should have read long ago. So in 2016 I made it a resolution to read at least one book per month. Naturally, I’m dragging my family along for the ride.
There are five people in my family ranging in age from 8 to 40 (just to be clear, I am not the 40-year-old). Some of us prefer YA dystopian novels and others are strictly military/true crime nonfiction readers. Creating a family book club to provide an opportunity for us to share our love of reading and inspire each other to explore books in other genres was a challenging undertaking, but I’ve made some good headway.
First, the rules:
- During month #1 you can read whatever you want. After that we will collectively select a genre from which everyone will choose a book to read each month. (I won’t even try to find a book that everyone could read at the same time.)
- You have to read the entire book by the end of the month.
That’s it. Pretty simple.
By the end of the month, the rules had been followed – sort of. Almost everyone had read an entire book (my husband cheated and read 1/2 of a book and then watched the film adaption). The subject matter varied from minecraft zombies to abused children.
After the first meeting I’m pleased with how it went, but already have ideas for how it could be improved.
What I did right:
- I talked about the book club a lot throughout the month. I asked everyone how their books are coming, helped the kids find an alternative when their first choice got boring, and talked about all the fun things we were going to do at the book club meeting.
- Made book-themed snacks and a “guess the book character” game for us to play at our first meeting.
- Created a custom book club worksheet to guide our conversation.
Things I’ll change before our next meeting:
- Make sure we have two hours set aside for the book club meeting. We ended up having it at 7:00PM on a Sunday night after dinner. Bad idea.
- Have everyone complete the worksheet before the meeting. Some people need more time than others and there’s no sense in spending valuable meeting time doing this.
- Adjust the worksheet to make it smaller in size, and add/remove a few items.
Limit share time to 5 minutes per person. With 5 of us, that’s half and hour just listening to each other talk about our books, and that’s plenty.
- Scrap the book journal idea. Turns out I’m the only one to wants to write about my books throughout the month.
I’m excited that everyone enjoyed our first meeting and we are all looking forward to making our February meeting even better. We decided to all choose something in the historical nonfiction genre for February. This is a favorite area for my husband and 12 year old daughter, but makes me and my 14 year old groan. Wish us luck this month!