Diversity Is Critical When Picking Members for Your Book Club

You love books, you love the experience of reading, and you want to share and discuss books with others. The criteria for selecting others to join you should be based on these things alone. I implore you to try to forget about gender, age or background, and focus on the love of reading.

First, all the members won't be your friends and in my opinion shouldn't be your friends. What I mean by this is that a gathering of friends will discuss everything from relationships to kids to dinner, to work. Remember, you're putting this group together with a very specific purpose; to read and discuss specific books. This might sounds strange but if all the members are your current friends, you'll likely end up discussing anything but the book. Trust me, a few acquaintances or even strangers will result in a more dynamic and enjoyable group.

Even though the members might not all start as friends, you share a common passion and you may and probably will eventually become friends. The world is filled with groups of people who share nothing but a common passion for something. Use this as an opportunity to reach out and include new people into your world.

Second, think diversity. The most dynamic discussion groups I've attended have both male and female members from diverse walks of life. Women make up the majority of fiction readers so statistically your group will be mostly or completely comprised of women. Still, I encourage you to try to get at least one male club member. In almost every discussion they will bring a very different and welcome insight to characters and actions.

For example, in a recent book club meeting I asked the question, who's the main character, Rick, the supposed hero, or Kay Summers, the heroine. Kay was in the story from the first page of the first chapter while Rick came in about a third the way through the book. Most of the women answered Kay, while all the male readers said it was Rick. This single question has occupied as much as half a meeting and the resulting conversation was amazing. The different perspective is enlightening and thought provoking.

Also, don't be afraid of younger or older members. They too will have a unique perspective and most likely pick up on things you miss.

Reading isn't age dependent, gender specific, expensive or hard. People from all industries, socioeconomic background and education levels read and enjoy talking about reading. I can practically guarantee that the more diversity you include in your groups makeup, the more you'll get out of it.


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