When I was little, my Woo-Woo used to talk about all the clubs she’d host at her house. With 7 kids and a job, I never could figure out why she would spend afternoons and evenings hosting so many random social gatherings. Then, as I got older I realized how hard it is to make new friends after a certain age. Did you read that article in the New York Times last year? It’s not just me, I swear! This is a real problem that seemingly normal people have too.
So earlier this year, I decided to start a book club. You see, I’m the type of person that knows a lot of people but isn’t necessarily prone to invest in too many relationships. For me, it’s all about trust. It’s hard for me to let people into my little box. Do you do that?
I have a constant feeling of competition–not with other people but with myself. What if people realize I’m a lot crazier than they originally thought? What if they see how scattered my brain really is and what a warped sense of humor I have? (I blame my parents for that one.) It’s not that I believe people could possibly see me as perfect, but more that I want to give them the illusion of *pretty together* for as long as possible. We could get into the psychology but suffice it to say that for the past year I’ve been challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone. Enter the book club.
It was the perfect excuse to mix something I love–something I’m really comfortable doing: reading–with getting to know people better. Interested in trying it yourself? Here’s a little help.
Find books that will spark discussion.
We’ve had an interesting time with this so far. Nora Ephron’s “I Remember Nothing” was by far the biggest success. Although, our next book is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, and I’m really excited about it. Light fiction seems to be too subjective and a longer history book may get too cumbersome if you have a larger group. We read Deborah Mitford’s “Wait for Me!” and while I enjoyed it, it turned out to be quite arduous for a book club.
However, I will say that it’s important to read things that aren’t necessarily in your comfort zone. Quiet has made me really uncomfortable at times (because I’m more of an extrovert), but I think that will only make for more interesting discussion.
Make a guest list and set out the name tags.
Invite a mix of old friends and people you’d like to know better. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little terrifying. The first thing I did was mention it on Facebook just to see who else was interested. Then, I talked to a few people and planned an evening. Asking everyone to wear name tags insures that no one will be uncomfortable approaching that girl that they may have seen in passing but never really met.
Have a party!
Ask your guests to bring food & drink. I’m not gonna lie, our food usually ends up themed and the wine has a tendency to flow. If you’re worried about the discussion moving, most publishers have book group discussion questions available on their websites. (For example: Here are the discussion questions for Nora Ephron’s book on Random House’s website.)
I guess the main thing I’m trying to say is this: Try something new! Make some new friends! You don’t have to start a book club. We’ve joked several times about just getting together to watch movies. But I promise, you won’t regret it.