4 Reasons Why Men Need to Join Book Clubs

Book clubs are predominantly populated by women, there’s no arguing that fact. Rarely are men found in a book club that isn’t in college, and created solely to help them improve their grades by reading course-related material. After that, even if men love reading, they hardly form clubs to discuss it. While plenty of people argue that men are just not as social about their reading habits as women are, there are a number of reasons why men should try to start or join book clubs.

Diversity 

If men joined book clubs that are mostly women, they’re going to increase the diversity within that group. The conversations will change, the book selections will change, and the women will learn from the men (and vice versa). The books will be a more well-rounded reflection of people, instead of just chick lit that makes everybody cry. Book clubs need diversity!

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Social Interaction  

Men, despite all their efforts to declare otherwise, are social creatures too. If men started a book club for men, or joined a book club, their intentions to interact go through the roof. Men may find that they have more to say on a topic, and enjoy the process of discussion and sharing of intellectual (or fictional) ideas. Just because men are taught that they can’t talk much doesn’t mean that they should. They can help themselves share their opinions while also opening others up to the idea that both genders are equal.

Education 

If your book club reads fiction, poetry, non-fiction, horror, whatever – there is something to be learned from every book. Men are missing out on this, even if they read a ton on their own. They are not discussing the ideas, the patterns, the themes, the facts, etc. that they absorb from reading a book on their own, and may be missing out on a perspective they hadn’t considered. There’s so much to learn from your peers when you interact with them in a book club setting.

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Attraction  

Why not start a couples book club? Depending on how open you are with your friends, make it a “dirty” book club, or a marriage self-help reading book club, or a humor book club. Whatever you want it to be, do it as a couple. Maybe you can find something that sparks romance between you and your partner, and brings you closer together because you’re sharing this. Plus you read great stuff, so it’s a win win!

Self Care  

Often, men don’t give themselves enough productive time to recharge their batteries. You know what I mean – plopping down in front of the couch with a beer after a really stressful day and still not feeling better. Why not start a book club (or join one) that helps you recharge your batteries on an intellectual and social level? You’ll be surprised at how energized you feel after great conversation and great reading. Give a try, you won’t be sorry!

Five Ideas to Help You Start a Book Club in Your Area

Do you love reading, but hate having no one to share great books with? Why not start a book club? You may be thinking, “That sounds like a lot of work!,” but really it isn’t. Here are five ideas to help you get started with minimal effort.

  1. Ask your friends. 

It’s easiest to start with the people who are most like you, right? So ask all your best friends and see if they’d be interested in a book club meeting once a month. You can talk about the details, but maybe suggest one book that you know everyone will be interested in to start, and then vote on the next book after that first meeting. Maybe people will want to do it more frequently, depending on your reading speeds.

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  1. Ask your neighbors.

Since you live so close, it’s easy to set up a time and place every 2 weeks or every month to get together for a book club. Just knock on your neighbor’s doors (hopefully you’ve met them before) and ask if they’d like to start a book club. The best part about this idea is that you all come from somewhat different backgrounds and have different tastes, so you can expand your horizons.

  1. Start one at work.

For some of us, we’re at work more than we’re at home. Why not combine business and pleasure (during appropriate break time)? You can ask your closest coworkers if they’d be interested in meeting during lunch break or just after work at a close restaurant to have a book club. Encourage people to read books during their breaks, and you can discuss much more in between sessions since you see each other every work day! You may get more enjoy out of job this way, and you’ll definitely see an improvement in your interactions with your coworkers.

  1. Church or other organizations. 

Do you go to church, or are you a PTA member? If you’re part of a community like this, you can always introduce the idea of a book club. The best part about this idea is that people are already like-minded, and love community interaction. This could be a great way to expand your circle of friends, and build a stronger support system around yourself. You’d be surprised how many people sign up just because they want to meet more people.

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  1. Ask your library. 

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Your local library may have been considering starting a book club, but they don’t have enough people showing interest. So ask them. Even if they weren’t considering it, ask if you could start a book club (that they could advertise for). You can pick the first book, see who shows up, and then vote on the next book. This will gain traction over time, as more people sign up through the library. Odds are the library will run it, so you don’t have to.

7 Best Books to Start Your Book Club

If you’ve recently started a book club, you may be scratching your head wondering what book you should start with. Depending on the people who are in your book club, there are a few selections that are considered “big hits” in the book club world. Here they are:

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 

This is a great choice, especially if your readers are mostly female. This is about a book club, set during WWII. Villagers come together to ration their food, share books, and support one another through the rough years. Great read, fun tie into the nature of a book club.

  1. The Shack 

Is your book club part of a church or religious organization? Sticking to books that reflect your values may be a strong selling point to get more people involved. Check out The Shack, and discuss just how much you all love it. This is a great book for men and women, and would be a great way to start conversation.

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  1. The Art of Racing in the Rain 

Did you meet some of your book club members at the dog park? Do you all have fur children? This is the best book since Marley and Me for people who love animals. Yes, bring tissues, but also enjoy a very unique and loving story that will be great to discuss while your dogs romp around in the background.

  1. The Book Thief

 This book is universal, whether young, middle-aged, old, man or woman. This is also a great book if you want to have a “family book club” that allows parents and school-aged children to discuss books together. Set in WWII, it opens the dialogue about a lot of things, including loss, the Holocaust, and death itself. Such a great book.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night 

If you’re hoping to draw more young teens and male readers into your book club, start with a book like this. About a young autistic boy who tries to solve the death of a neighbor’s dog, it is unique, incredibly visual, and an impressive read.

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  1. To Kill a Mockingbird 

Even if people have read this before, talking about it in book club just brings about a different perspective. Stick to the classics for the first session, if you want, and discuss the themes that are thick in this Harper Lee classic. There are also tons of book club discussion guides online for this book, if you’re wondering where to start the conversation.

  1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time 

If you’re hoping to start a book club that is rife with cultural and worldly lessons, this is a great place to start. Don’t stick to the traditional, white suburban literature. Expand your horizons. Use this book to discuss the perils in the Middle East, and the need to improve education (especially for females) in such a restrictive culture.

Non-Traditional Book Clubs

For some of us, traditional book clubs just don’t fit our needs or lifestyle. Maybe you can’t meet up once a month, or maybe you don’t like the books that book clubs pick. Or maybe you just don’t like the people who are in book clubs. But if you still find yourself drawn to the idea of discussing a book with your peers, here are a few ideas for non-traditional book clubs that can help you get over the hump.

Different Books 

Instead of all reading the same book and purchasing ridiculous amounts of the book you’re only going to read once (or fighting for a copy at the local library), why not all read a different book? This way, you can bring your copy, your rundown of the plot, and your review of the story. Maybe someone in your book club will like what you’ve read, and ask to borrow your copy. Next time, you get your book back and you might borrow a book from someone else. This is also a great way to let people pick their own books so they keep coming back.

Book Trade  

Have a ton of books you’ve already read? Bring a box to a book trade or book swap. Enjoy food and refreshments while you peruse other people’s selections, and take home a few new books. Then you can get together next month and do it all over again! This is a great way to share books you love without having to pick one and discuss it even if you hated it!

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Blind Date With a Book 

Have your friends and book club members wrap up a favorite book of their own in paper. On the paper, write or draw a little riddle about what the book is about, or just the general genre. Don’t be too specific because you don’t want to give away the book title! Have your fellow members choose a book based on their wrappings, and let them take them home before opening them. They have no idea what they’re going to get, but make sure they really do read them. Then, next month (or whenever you’re scheduled), have them return the books and discuss. You can do the blind date swap again, or just do it every other time. What a fun way to get someone to read a book they normally wouldn’t.

Online Book Clubs  

There are tons of online book clubs, and while these may not be as personal or fun as in person book clubs, they get the job done. It’s especially nice because you can pick from more book clubs that have tastes similar to your own, so you’re not stuck reading the same chick lit over and over and over. Sites like Goodreads have tons of groups and monthly clubs you can join, as well as ways to review and share your books with other people. You can also find a ton more books that you would have overlooked at the book store or library!