> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  31 August 2021


How to start a book club

Get your very own book club off the ground with these tips from The Wattle Island Book Club author.

Have you ever wanted to start a book club, but weren’t sure how? I’ve been in quite a few book clubs over time and like my librarian, Grace, in The Wattle Island Book Club, I’ve picked up a few pointers. Read on for some handy suggestions for embarking down the book club road.

How do you actually start a book club?

  • Gather 5-10 like-minded people. Talk to work colleagues, school parents, neighbours – the only criteria being they need to enjoy reading. And don’t be afraid to simply ask. ‘Hey, I was thinking about starting a book club. Want to join?’ Sure, some people will say no, but chances are, there are people in your circle who’d love to be part of a book club and are simply waiting for someone to ask.
  • Contact your local library. Most libraries have book club collections you can borrow – box sets of 10 books, including discussion questions. They are a great resource, especially for start-up book clubs, and have a great range of titles available.
  • Set a specific time and date. Most book clubs meet once a month, but that can vary. What’s important is that however often you decide to meet you stick with it. If it’s the last Thursday of every month, then lock that in every month. With life so busy these days, if you start mucking around with when you meet, you’ll soon find it’s been four months since you did, and book club will simply fade away.
  • Choose your first book. Choose a book that is well-known and will spark discussion. Some people may be nervous about your first meeting, so a book that is easy to discuss will help. If you’re not sure what a good choice is, ask your librarian, they are fonts of knowledge in this area. Or browse this list of 2021 book club picks
  • Rotate the venue. If you’re meeting in each other’s houses, make sure you rotate this around. It relieves the pressure of one person having to be host all the time, and it’s a great way to mix up the book choice (see tip below). Of course, online may be your only option with lockdowns, find some tips here on meeting online instead of in person. 
  • Choose different books. One of the easiest ways to do this, and to ensure that everyone is happy with the book choice at least one meeting per year, is to have a different member of the book club choose a book each time. And the easiest way to do that is for whoever is hosting to choose the title you will be discussing.
  • No blame, no shame. If a book tanks, and some will, don’t blame the chooser. Laying blame will make for a far less harmonious book club.

Feature Title

The Wattle Island Book Club

Is it ever too late to rewrite your own story?

Read more

More features

See all
Book clubs
Wattle Island Book Club book club notes

A story filled with courage, passion and hope to share with your reading group.

Book clubs
The Banksia Bay Beach Shack book club notes

Escape with your reading group to the sleepy seaside town of Banksia Bay, where all of the inhabitants seem to be hiding something.

Book clubs
The Cottage at Rosella Cove book club notes

Bring your book club together and celebrate the power of human connection with this uplifting novel from Sandie Docker. 

Book clubs
The Kookaburra Creek Café book club notes

A multi-generational Australian saga filled with secrets, heartache and friendship – perfect for book club.

6 authors share why they love meeting readers

Find out what authors think about book events and learn about upcoming chances to meet your favourite authors in person.

Love in all its forms

Four authors on penning the many dimensions of love.

Sylvia’s chocolate fudge cupcakes

Enjoy this decadent chocolate cupcake recipe from The Kookaburra Creek Café. 

Meet the characters from Lessons in Chemistry

Learn about a few of the major characters from Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

Rachael Johns shares her trick for getting words onto the page

We caught up with Rachael Johns to learn about her writing routines, favourite rom-coms and new book The Other Bridget.

The 10 bestselling fiction books of 2023

Check out our top-selling fiction books this year.

Some of the most anticipated books of 2024

From authors including Rachael Johns, Amor Towles, Leigh Bardugo and so many others!

The best books to read with your book club in spring 2023

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 48,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this October.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes