How To Choose Books for Your Book Club

I thought I’d share with you what our book club has recently done to help narrow choices for our Books of the Month.  Our book club started back in 2004, with just 3 members.  Now, 7 years later, we are a group of 30.  I remember when I first joined back in 2009, the organizer had decided to take a hiatus due to lack of members interest in the book club.  By then, there were about 20 members.  One member had RSVP’ed to attend a book meet and was the only one to show up!!  That’s a huge no-no!  So, I revamped the book club and started talking to members about what they wanted in a book club.  Some of the top reasons they wanted to join for the obvious: love to read, want to discuss with others about the books they’ve read, and to build friendships.   However, one major reason they wanted to join a book club was to be introduced to books that one would not otherwise read.  So, basically, we all wanted to venture out of our comfort zone and read some books that were from a different genre.  I loved that!!

However, with choosing books from a different genre, many of our members are really trusting each other to suggest a great book title in a genre she wouldn’t normally read.  When the book club was first formed, the Book of the Month was selected by the hostess.  However, it typically meant that the hostess and organizer were the only attendees.  There just wasn’t enough interest in the books chosen and the other members didn’t have a say in what they were going to read for that month.  Quite honestly, who wants to be part of a group where decisions are made for you and yet you still have to go out and purchase the book?? I know, I don’t.  And…it puts a lot of pressure on the hostess to pick a book she thinks everyone will enjoy reading.

Our group then started our voting process.  This is where members submit book titles, along with the synopsis, and everyone votes on the book she would like to read.  Typically, the book in second place is selected for the following month because some books won by simply one vote.  That process has worked well for the past 2 years, until now.

Because our group has grown so much and we have very active members, it was important to give everyone as much information about each book suggested for a Book of the  Month.  It also helps everyone know which books to suggest, as well.

Because we vote online, we are using a new format that will be used with each book submission. This will allow members to gather more information on each book and have a better idea if this is a book she wants to read.  Also, while some books are great to be read individually, not all are great books to discuss because there just wasn’t a whole lot of substance.




Books to Consider for a Book of the Month Should:
1)be thought provoking

2)have a well developed plot with some unpredictability

3)have well developed characters

4)story moves at a good pace

5) be a 4 or 5 star book rating on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or Library Thing.

Submit Book Titles with the Following Information:
1. Have you read this book? (Book must already have been read by the member submitting the title)
2. On a scale of 1-10, would you rate this book as an 8 or higher?
3. Has this book been on any lists? If so, which ones?
4. Name of Book:
5. Author:
6. Pages:
7. Genre:
8. Themes/Issues:
9. Is this book available in paperback? To help curb costs, it is preferable to have books in paperback already).
10. Direct Link to Synopsis:

Books missing information will not be eligible to be voted on.

Once the book titles with the following information are submitted, a poll is created so that members can vote on the book she wants to read as a Book of the Month.  The book with the most votes is selected.  The information provided is a great way for members to know a little more about the books, especially if she hasn’t read the book before.  Because while we all want to read something different, it certainly helps to know a member has read it and gives her seal of approval :)

Members are now following the criteria below to suggest book titles. It is our first time to do this for our 2012 books, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes for us.  How does your book club suggest book titles?  I’d love to know!