Renew your book group

No time? Bored with the same-old, same-old? Revise that in 2019.

It’s so easy for life to get in the way of book groups. One member can change her work schedule, have a baby or maybe just doesn’t read the selected book month after month (after month…) and faster than you can say Jane Austen the whole thing falls apart.

Familiarity can also be the bane of any good book group. The same-old, same-old wine and snacks and chatting about who went where with whom for the holidays before actually getting down to the business of the book can make it easy for some members to put the group on the back burner in favor of anything more riveting.

But this easy, fun and cheap girls night out is worth saving. If yours could use a makeover for 2019, here are a few ideas.


• Read a magazine article. Here’s some motivation to actually finish that New Yorker article you started a few weeks (or months) ago. It’s a reason to find out more about global warming, the crisis in East Sudan or the new wave of women in Congress.

• Select a short story collection. Each group member reads a different story by the author and shares her opinion and impressions of it. The discussion will evolve as similarities, themes and style emerge.

• Ditch the gathering and do it online. It’s as easy as starting a group Facebook page. Set a date and time for everyone to log in and discuss the book, or give members a period of days to post their thoughts and reply to others.

• Or, gasp, don’t meet monthly. How about quarterly to kick off (or end) every season? You could even go so far as to throw one big book group bash once a year, especially when you take on a classic like “Moby Dick” or “Anna Karenina,” for example.


• Bring your own book. Each member reads a book of their choosing and brings it the group with her review. Book members can then swap books.

• Meet at a restaurant or coffee shop. Try a different one each for each meeting.

• Have a walking book group. Discuss as you step, then gather up for the snacks after.

• Give your group a theme. Inspiring women biographies, career books, spirituality, travel, outdoor adventure. Stick with one theme or switch it up each month.

• Read your way around the world. Each selection for your group can be a book by a foreign author. (The Reading Books from Every Country Facebook page is a good place to start for translated books you’ve never heard of.)

• Go to a reading/signing. Attend as a group, buy the book, and discuss it at your next meeting. You’ll have new insight after hearing the author.

• Skype with the author. More and more authors are doing this. Check out the author’s or publisher’s website to see if yours makes virtual visits.

Amy Canfield is an editor of Maine Women Magazine and a rabid reader.

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