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Start a Book Club: Home

About This Guide

This guide will help you start or join a book club. You are also invited to join the Library's English Fiction Book Club, which meets on the last Wednesday of the month from 5 to 7 PM at the Library. See the Library's events page for more information. 

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a complete list of book club titles available at the Library. We've listed some of our favorites on the right.

To view the Arabic guide, click here

Starting a Book Club

Book clubs are a great way to meet new people, discover books you may not otherwise read and, of course, have fun! Here are some tips on how to get your new book club started.

WHO?  Book clubs typically have 8 to 10 members. If you’re worried your club might get too big, consider setting a membership limit or creating criteria for new members.

WHAT? Choosing a theme for your club will help you choose books and attract interested members. For example, some clubs may read only nonfiction books, while others may read only mysteries, books by female authors or books from a particular region.

WHERE? Many book groups meet at one member’s home each month, with the host providing small snacks or refreshments. For new groups, it may be more comfortable for people to meet in a public place, such as the Library or a café.

WHEN? Establish a regular meeting time to help members remember and plan ahead. Decide how often you’ll meet, and if you’ll meet during the summer and over holidays.

HOW? The books you read are the heart of the club, so it’s important to make thoughtful selections and give members a chance to help choose. Some book clubs select titles far in advance, while others select from month-to-month. One approach is to give one person each month the opportunity to submit three book choices; the rest of the members then vote for one of the three titles.

Once your book club is up and running, keep the momentum going and keep people coming back by ensuring everyone has a good time and feels like they’re able to contribute.

PLAN Read the book, do some research on the topics and/or author, and come prepared with questions that will generate discussion. Consider establishing a rough meeting outline to allow for socializing, discussion and planning future meetings without getting off-track.

BE FLEXIBLE People come to book clubs for different reasons—some may enjoy socializing, while others may want to focus on discussing and analyzing the book. Most book clubs have a relaxed environment, but if the book becomes an afterthought, consider scheduling social time before you start your discussion.

ENCOURAGE Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a group. Encourage everyone to participate, and emphasize that there are no right or wrong opinions. Also, people will feel reluctant to come if they haven’t finished the book. Urge them to attend and discuss the parts of the book they did read.

DISCUSS Welcome attendees and allow new members to introduce themselves. Let the conversation proceed naturally, but keep in mind that as the leader, your role is to keep the discussion running smoothly.

CHECK IN If people aren’t enjoying the club, they’re most likely not going to complain—they’ll just stop coming. Talk to members one-on-one periodically to see if they have any suggestions.

Leading a Book Discussion

As the leader of your book club, you’ll often be leading the discussion and ensuring everyone has fun and is able to participate. Here are some common challenges and suggestions for how to handle them:

If one person is dominating the conversation Redirect the conversation by thanking the person for their perspective and ask if anyone else would like to comment. You can also introduce a new topic yourself to encourage others to share their thoughts.

If members keep talking over each other … Bring an object to pass around the room—only the person holding the object gets to speak. If one person is holding the object too long, change the object to a timer and give each person a set amount of time.

If shy or quiet members don’t get to participate … If you can tell that someone wants to speak, invite them to comment. One way to guarantee everyone has a chance to speak is to allocate time at the end of every meeting for each person to share their final thoughts.

If the discussion becomes heated … Though there’s nothing wrong with members having different opinions, remind everyone that there is no right—or wrong—answer.

If the discussion becomes emotional … Controversial books can make for great club choices because they often spark lively discussions. However, topics that are too sensitive may cause your members to be embarrassed or uncomfortable. If you sense that some members are uncomfortable with the discussion, take a quick poll of the group to decide if you want to move on to another topic. You can also break members into smaller discussion groups according to how they would like to proceed.

If the conversation stalls … Sometimes the problem isn’t too much talk, but not enough. Not all books will capture the group’s interest, so if you’re all talked out, ask members if they want to discuss other book-related topics. This can be a fun way to get book recommendations—both for the club and for your own reading—and learn more about your fellow club members. Some fun ice-breakers include asking people their favorite fictional characters, a favorite film based on a book or books that have changed their lives.

If leading the group becomes overwhelming … If you’re looking at this list and thinking that running a book club is hard work, don’t worry! Once you get a consistent group of members, consider rotating leaders for each meeting so that you get a break and other members have a chance to guide the club.

Participating in a Book Club

So you’ve joined a book club—great! Books clubs are a fun way to meet new people, discover new books and share your thoughts in a supportive environment. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your book club experience.

BE PREPARED Read the book. Take notes as you go and use sticky notes to mark any passages you find interesting so that you can refer to them at the meeting. If you don’t finish the book, go to the meeting anyway. Discuss what you have read and listen while other members discuss the parts of the book you didn’t read. However, don’t expect other members to avoid sharing spoilers.

BE RESPECTFUL People have different reasons for joining a book club. Some come for serious explorations of literary themes, while others join to make new friends. By respecting these different desires, not only will get what you want out of the club, but everyone else will, too.

BE PATIENT Take turns speaking and be a good listener. Each member should have an opportunity to share his or her thoughts. If you tend to be long-winded, be cautious not to dominate the discussion and be sure to stay on topic. Be open to other opinions—don’t feel like you have to win everyone over to your side. Often the best discussions are books loved by half of the group and hated by the other half!

BE OPEN Part of the fun of joining a book club is to read books you wouldn’t normally choose yourself. You may discover a new author or genre that you love. If you didn’t like a book, that’s fine too, and you’re welcome to discuss why. However, always keep in mind that there is no right or wrong in reading for pleasure. Avoid "book-shaming"—making people feel bad about what they choose to read.

BE A GOOD MEMBER Come on time, participate, and be sure to understand the group guidelines before inviting new members to join. If you have a suggestion for how to improve the club, let the organizer know. Most of all, have fun!

Qatar National Library Book Club Collection

The Library has multiple copies of a selection of fiction titles including the below. To get our full list of book club titles and to reserve copies of books for your upcoming book club email us on: bookclubs@qnl.qa

Author

Title

Abdolah, Kader

The King

Achebe, Chinua

Things Fall Apart

Ahern, Cecelia

PS, I Love You: A Novel

Andrews, Mary Kay

Deep Dish

Andrews, Mary Kay

Save The Date

Andrews, Mary Kay

Summer Rental: A Novel

Arnim, Elizabeth von

The Enchanted April

Atkinson, Kate

A God In Ruins: A Novel

Atkinson, Kate

Life After Life: A Novel

Atwood, Margaret

The Handmaid's Tale

Atwood, Margaret

The Blind Assassin

Atwood, Margaret

Oryx and Crake: A Novel

Austen, Jane

Emma

Austen, Jane

Northanger Abbey

Austen, Jane

Persuasion

Austen, Jane

Sense and Sensibility

Austen, Jane

Pride and Prejudice

Baker, Jo

Longbourn

Barbery, Muriel

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Barry, Brunonia

The Lace Reader

Bassiouney, Reem

The Pistachio Seller

Bender, Aimee

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel

Benioff, David

City of Thieves: A Novel

Benjamin,  Melanie

The Aviator's Wife: A Novel

Bhutto,  Fatima

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

Bilal,  Parker

The Burning Gates: A Makana Mystery

Blake,  Sarah

The Postmistress

Blasim, Hassan

The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq

 

Reference Librarian

Profile Photo
Reem A. Al Sada| ريم السادة
Subjects الموضوعات:
Humanities العلوم الإنسانية, Language and Literature اللغات والآداب
Questions?
 

Here are some useful quick links that you may want to visit while using this guide.

How to Register as a Library Member

Innovation Stations

Programs and Events

Feedback and Suggestions 

How Do I Cite a Source 

Library Book Club Picks

Contemporary Favorites

Mystery, Thriller and Suspense

Modern Classics

Useful Guides

Here are some useful guides that you may want to visit while using this guide.