How to choose book club selectionsWho decides what your book club is going to read for any given meeting? Here are a few ways you can make those decisions.
1. Host decidesOne option is to have the host choose what book will be discussed at her or his meeting. Usually book clubs have a different host for each meeting, whether the group meets at each other's homes or in a public location. One person usually leads the discussion. In this case, that host would choose the book for the meeting.
Pros: The host gets to discuss a book they want to read. It's a simple decision that only involves one person instead of getting a group of people to agree on a book.
Cons: There may be times when no one else in the group wants to read the book that the host has chosen.
2. Host picks a few and members voteThis is the option my book club uses and we like it. The host chooses three books. We then put up a poll in our Yahoo Group and all of the members vote for one of the books. Whichever one gets the most votes is chosen for that month's discussion. If there's a tie, the host gets to pick the winner. If you don't have an online group for polling, you could have the host bring a list to an earlier meeting and have everyone vote in person.
Pros: The host gets to discuss a book they want to read, but the group gets to pick the actual book. Everyone gets to be part of the decision.
Cons: It takes time, especially if you do an online poll. There are times when no one likes any of the selections (although that has been rare in our case).
3. Committee choosesAnother option is for a book club to put together a selection committee of just a few people who choose the books. They can come up with the list of possibilities themselves or the membership can submit books to be considered. Then the committee goes through and actually chooses the books for each meeting. Committee members can serve for a certain amount of time and then others can get a chance to serve.
Pros: The burden of picking books is placed on just a small group so it should be easier to come to a consensus.
Cons: Other members may not feel they get enough say in what books they read. There may be politics involved in choosing the selection committee.
4. Pull a book from a hatHere's an interesting way to choose books. Write several book titles on little slips of paper, and pull one from a hat for each meeting. The group could keep an ever-growing list of ideas submitted by members, and when it's time to pick a new book, they all go into the hat. As new ideas come up, they get added to the rest that haven't been chosen yet.
Pros: It's a fun and exciting way to pick books. Everyone gets to submit ideas but no one is responsible for making the decision themselves.
Cons: There could end up being a lot of books, some of which the majority don't want to read. There isn't room to choose books that match the mood of the season, for example, something lighter in the summer.
5. Have a book picking party!
Lara from Overstuffed Life shared a fun option for choosing books: "We have a book picking party every summer. Every member brings two books to put into the vote and then we vote for our favorite 12. We like it because we have the whole list for the year all at once--then we can pick up the book when we see it on sale or read way ahead."
Pros: Who doesn't love a party? Especially when it involved books! Everyone gets to submit two books they like and vote for the ones they want to read.
Cons: Picking for the whole year could mean missing out on some new releases throughout the year.
If you're in a book club, how do you choose the books for each meeting? Do you vote or does one person choose? I'd love to hear more ideas!
Next week, I'll be sharing a list of summer reads that would be good for book clubs: lighter reads that still have plenty to talk about. Please let me know if you have suggestions for other topics to cover, or if you would like to write a guest post for my Book Club Picks series. I'd love to hear about your book club or your favorite books for discussion!