How to Run a Book Club for Seniors

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Donna Mae Scheib

How to Run a Book Club for Seniors

Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on July 17, 2017

How to Run a Book Club for Seniors

Reading literature together with others is a great way to become involved in your senior living community as well as a way to reach out and make new friends. As technology continues to take up many areas of our lives, reading a good book allows you to disconnect and get lost in the adventures and excitement through the lives of the characters in a story. We want to share some ideas on how to keep your book club running efficiently and how to choose themes for book choices.

Where to Start?

  • To get your book club started at your senior living facility, consider connecting with an activities director so they may help spread the word.
  • Have an initial meeting to accomplish the following:
  • Time, place, and date of future meetings for your book club
  • Come up with ideas for book choices and any genre themes you would want to follow
  • Select your first book choice with a vote. Consider checking to see if the book is available in large print or on audio for anyone who has a hard time reading smaller print but would still like to participate
  • Decide on a standard itinerary to follow for book club meetings
  • Create a sign up sheet for snacks for the first meeting
  • Collect names, numbers, and email addresses to be able to send out future information and confirmations of future book choices

Book Club Rules to Consider

  • Allow members to participate even if they have not read the book as it should be an inviting atmosphere and they can still provide thoughtful discussion points!
  • Consider rotating leaders so everyone has a chance to lead discussions each month
  • Break up into smaller discussion circles if your book club is a large group
  • Bring a “talking stick” so that each book club member has a chance to speak without being interrupted
  • Socialize beforehand so members are more apt to sticking to discussing the book and not veering off topic
  • Disagreements will occur and sometimes it is best to agree to disagree
  • Remind everyone before the discussion begins to be good at both talking AND listening

A General Outline for Book Club Discussion

  • Two to two and a half hours is a good amount of time to aim for each book club meeting
  • For the first half hour, take time to share snacks and socialize or do an icebreaker activity
  • Break up the rest of the time into different categories such as thoughts about the book, questions, insight on major and minor characters, the author’s writing style, etc.

Book Choice Genre Themes

There are so many choices for books out there; it is sometimes nice to break choices down into genres that the majority in your book club likes to read. Here are some popular genres to help you come up with book choice ideas for your future book club!

  • Historical Fiction- Take your club back in time and explore various eras throughout history to learn about events or different societal norms
  • Classical Fiction- Often considered the best of the best in writing, dive into deep discussion about the complexity of the storylines
  • Biographies- A way to learn about the lives of those who have greatly impacted history. Consider reading biographies of those who have lived within the last fifty years to discuss what your remember about the person
  • Fantasy- A way for each member to use their imagination and to bring a variety of discussions and interpretations to the club meetings
  • Science Fiction-Although sometimes it feels like the 21st century is straight out of a science fiction novel, exploring time and space travel in your book club could be a new experience for all!