Book Clubs: On the Decline or Thriving?

Book clubs have been around for quite some time and really became trendy a few years back when Oprah revamped hers by selecting Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (now a nominated film in this year’s Academy Awards). In recent years, we have heard less and less about these typically female driven groups. In my personal life, this is not the case. In fact, my book clubs are thriving.

Yes, you read that right. Plural book clubs. One of my clubs just kicked off our sixth year, the other is in our fourth. Equal participation contributes to our longevity. Not one person is dictating our book selection each month, we take turns choosing and then it goes to the group for a vote. We have read over 65 books, a good portion of which have been made in to movies that we have gone to see, as well as a good portion that have turned in to best sellers after we read them – The Help and Gone Girl to name a couple.

We began in our 20s and now that we have all entered our 30s, we have been a part of each other’s life events – engagements, marriages, pregnancies, deaths, new relationships, jobs and homes. We have had several members come and go, but our core group has stayed intact.

The clubs I belong to have been successful quite some time because each of us makes the effort to attend every month, even if life gets busy and we are unable to start or finish the book selection. At the end of each meeting, we all whip out our calendars to agree on the next meeting date. How our club meets has naturally evolved this way. Initially, we were rotating houses and bringing a potluck dinner. Currently, the person choosing the book for the month now gets to choose whether we go out to dinner, or go to their place for a potluck.

I can only speak for myself, but I look forward to these monthly meetings. These ladies are a big part of my life – I have seen them monthly for years! It’s great to get together, talk about life and then have engaging conversation (or banter) around our book topics.

Interested in starting a book club of your own? Here are some tips:

  1. Ask family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to join. It’s best to keep the group between 5-8 members for scheduling purposes.
  2. Determine what genre of books your club likes to read to create your club’s theme.
  3. Decide book selection policy or create ground rules.
  4. Scheduling – how often (monthly)? What time (weekends or after work)? Where (home or the newest restaurant in town)?
  5. Who will moderate to keep your club thriving?

Iverson pic


I am a born and raised California girl who grew up in Los Angeles. After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in sunny San Diego, I planted roots with my new husband and French Bulldog puppy.  I hold a Master’s in Education and have spent a majority of my professional career in Higher Education. I enjoy traveling, learning, cooking, wine, Pilates, attending concerts and reading for both my book clubs.

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Read more about and from the author: Lynette Iverson’s WiLab Profile