"Let's read chapters 1-3 this week"
I've also finally joined what I think of as a "traditional book club". This happened at work... in response to this year's black lives matter protests (which haven't ended, right? keep it going!) there was a group discussion on the intranet started about diversity & inclusion, and books one might read. Someone said hey let's pick one and read it together.
So we are reading "Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People" over the next two months. Everyone is supposed to read chapters 1-3 this week, then we'll get together and discuss. Meeting every two weeks until we're done.
"Tell us about this book"
My favorite book club format was actually one we did in my women's network group for work books, we called it a book club but it was more of a networking club driven loosely by book themes. At the beginning of the year, we'd list out a ton of books we might like to read. Business, leadership, organization, life improvement, biography, the occasional fiction added by someone who was a huge fan of it. Then we'd survey the group to find out which books had the most interest and especially a volunteer to READ it and lead the discussion. Then we'd calendar out 12 books, one for each month, for the whole year.
If you were the leader that month, you'd have to read the book and spend the first 15 minutes of the meeting summarizing the highlights for everyone who didn't read it... and most people didn't read it. That's what was great about our book club, you could be involved and read one book a year, but still get the good ideas.
It was common for a FEW other people to have read the book, but never everybody. It didn't matter though. Non-fiction books are about ideas, and once we start hearing the themes we could add personal stories or questions and go from there. I would tell the leaders that their job was to provide enough info in the first 15 minutes that we'd have a nice chat for the next 45. The only time we failed at this was when we had leaders try to summarize the WHOLE book and take over. We never had a loss of things to chat about. I got exposed to some fabulous business books this way.
The club fizzled because 1) I got too busy to lead it and everyone else was crazy so we took a break and 2) More and more, I didn't think the women's group was the right place for it, I wanted to make it an "anybody who reads" book club or do it under the banner of our leadership/young employee network group. But they gave it a thumbs down. For absolutely no good reason. I was a little bitter. Maybe I can bring it back up again.
A friend invited me to her book club that was totally disorganized, they'd sort of have a fiction best seller that they might have read, but didn't end up talking about it, they just drank wine and talked about their lives. All over the place. Nice girlfriends so I could go back just for social reasons but without any noticeable book discussion I have no idea how they called themselves a book club. But they did.
Silent book club
As I wrote last week... the idea is we'd all bring a book and read silently together. We found out we needed to play instrumental music or nature sounds or something, because in a totally silent house someone's always apologizing for their stomach gurgling, and I was TERRIFIED that I might fart. The most fun part was going around the room and talking about what we're reading, which I realize is a great part of any book club, just hanging out with readers. Maybe that's why the term can mean so many things?
It's good to have an arsenal. I once attended a sunday school class where they were trying to have a book club, but a lot of people hadn't had time to read the book. The leader sighed and said well, we can take turns reading a page out loud together? But I had the better idea to turn it into the "did anybody read the book? then you tell us about it!" format. and it worked great! we bonded, instead of suffering through DIY audiobook boredom. Any way we can read, right?