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Start a Book Club with Your Partner

Posted 4 months ago by Franco V


Life gets busy as an adult. It can be difficult to find the time to just relax. I especially noticed this when my wife and I welcomed a daughter to our family. My energy was zapped, I desperately needed an outlet to deal with the stress of being a new parent, and I wanted time to read.

So, my wife and I discussed joining a book club. But when would we have time to do this? Our hectic schedules meant we barely had time to spend together. The solution: start a book club of our own. Just for us. Two members only. Meetings to be held on an irregular basis in our living room.

And we did just that. It not only gave us time to read, but it helped us connect over books we loved and gave us a fun new twist on date night.

With kids heading back to school, now is a great time to create a book club with your spouse or partner (even if you don’t have kids). Here are some tips to get started:

Establish ground rules

What books are we going to read? Who is going pick the books? When are we going to sit down to talk about them?

These are all things that need to be sorted out. We decided to select books on a monthly, rotating basis. One month I picked, the next month she did. We would check out two copies of the book at the Library and announce the selection at our meeting. This created a sense of anticipation and surprise, as only one person knew the next month’s selection.

As for when to discuss the books, we decided on the last Friday or Saturday of the month after our daughter went to bed. We made this into a date we could look forward to, with a snack, a drink and a comfortable spot on the sofa.

Pick the books

I suggest picking the first book together, that way you both have an interest in reading it. But after that, it can be fair game for either individual to select whatever book they please, especially if you’re going to trade off with the selections month to month. The purpose here is to select books that you might like to read, but maybe your partner would not select for his or herself. This way, both of you gain exposure to new and interesting reads.

If you have little free time to read, try starting with shorter books, around 200 pages or so. And even though it’s a good idea to select different types of books to keep the discussion fresh, always keep your partner in mind. If they really don’t like horror, steer away from that. If you read a mystery one month, maybe select a different genre the next month.

To get you started, here are some suggestions my wife and I enjoyed:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang
One of the boys by Daniel Magariel
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

"The Vegetarian" by Han Kang
Print | eBook

"One of the Boys" by Daniel Magariel
Print | eBook

"Annihilation" by Jeff Vandermeer
Print | eBook | eAudio

Commit

This can be the most difficult part. For me, it was easy to read something else if I didn’t like the book selection. Don’t do this! Even if you haven’t finished the book, commit to meeting at the designated time. If you didn’t like the book, talk about what didn’t work for you. Life will sometimes get in the way of your book club and if it does that’s OK. Just pick it back up when you can.

It’s also a good idea to prepare some questions to keep the conversation moving. If you need help, Bustle and Book Riot have some great discussion questions that apply to any book. Lit Lovers and Novelist (library database) are also great resources for finding discussion questions for specific books.

In the long run, having a book group with your partner can be a rewarding endeavor. It can be more fun than dinner and a movie, and you’ll be surprised what you end up learning about each other and the books you read.

You can also get some great reading recommendations from one of our librarians with our readers' advisory service - Give 3 Get 3!

If starting a book club doesn’t sound like your thing, you can always join one of the many groups the Library offers. Here are a few upcoming meetings that might be of interest:

Under 200 Club

No theme, no registration – we’ll be reading light/heavy/fiction/non-fiction – anything (Under 200 Pages) goes! 3rd Monday of the Month, 7-8 p.m. Perfect for anyone who has always wanted to be part of a book discussion group but has limited time.

Fall 2018 Events: Sanger | 7 p.m.

September 17: "Buddha in the Attic" by Julie Otsuka
October 15: "The Spy" by Paulo Coelho
November 19: "The Reason I Jump" by Naoki Higashida
December 17: "The Penny Jumper" by James Grippando

Contact Sanger Branch to reserve this month's selection @ 419.259.5370.

Books on Tap

Join us for this monthly group where we talk books, socialize and relax with a cold one.

Fall 2018 Events: Ernest Brew Works | 7 p.m.

Sept. 19: "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman
Oct. 17: "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Robert Hack
Nov. 14: "The Sellout" by Paul Beatty 
Dec. 19: "Future Home of the Living God" by Louise Erdrich

All meetings take place at Earnest Brew Works at 4342 S Detroit Ave, Toledo, OH 43614. 21 and over only.

Disclaimer: The information included in this blog post is for educational purpose only. The Toledo Lucas County Public Library does not endorse any businesses featured in this blog post.