Book clubs continue to be a popular vehicle for social interaction while encouraging and motivating people to read, to encounter ideas they might not otherwise consider, and to talk about their own ideas and thoughts about what they’re reading. Parishes and faith communities can use book clubs to build a sense of community, invite new people to explore the Catholic faith, and experience faith formation. Book clubs can be an excellent vehicle for pre-evangelization and evangelization and a great way to help form disciples of Christ. Here are some tips for hosting a successful book club:
- On the average, group size should not exceed 10. This allows for two or three absentees while still maintaining a robust conversation.
- Set a regular meeting day and time, usually once per month, and send out e-mails with reminders of date, time, location, and questions for discussion.
- Have the book clubs meet in people’s homes, and invite members to rotate as hosts.
- Offer refreshments but don’t overdo it, so that no one feels intimidated about hosting. Soft drinks, wine, and coffee along with some snacks and desserts should suffice.
- The host and discussion leader should not be the same person. Just as the host should rotate each month, so should the discussion leader.
- Involve participants in the selection of the book they will read and discuss. A parish staff can offer a list of suggested books from which participants can select. Likewise, participants can suggest books to the parish leadership.
- Invite participants to highlight sections of the book that were of great interest, provoked them, enlightened them, or challenged them.
- Consider keeping the discussion going between meetings via a blog or another online forum.
What other suggestions do you have for hosting successful book clubs in the parish faith community?
Of course, as you consider book options, be sure to look at the many excellent books available from Loyola Press!