How To Fail At Having A Book Club In 29 Easy Steps

How To Fail At Having A Book Club In 29 Easy Steps

Everyone loves the idea of a book club, but actually having one can be kind of a drag. Here are 29 totally foolproof steps to ensure that your book clubs are short-lived and generally unsuccessful.

  1. Befriend people who, like you, profess to enjoy reading.

  • Mention at some point that you feel you never read as much as you want to read. See if your friends agree.
  • book club

  • If they do agree, venture to express that you would probably read more if you had to finish a book for a group discussion. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to talk about books with each other?
  • Wait for one of your friends to suggest starting a book club to remedy this crushing void in all of your lives. If none of them do, throw caution to the wind and suggest it yourself (self-effacingly, bearing in mind that being branded the club’s “founder” will saddle you with undesirable responsibilities).
  • Join in the chorus of enthusiastic agreement.
  • enthusiasm reading

  • Agree to meet one day after work every two weeks -- you guys want to do a lot of serious reading, no dilly-dallying. Plus, Thursday nights can be hectic, but who wants to spend a Sunday afternoon cooped up in book club? No thanks!
  • Next, agree that your club will be serious and cerebral, not a superficial gabfest. No baked goods or white wine, which will only distract from your profound intellectual aims.
  • Pick a book!
  • book picking

  • No, really, pick a book. Come on, guys, we can’t have a meeting unless we just pick something and read it. How about that book exposing the dark side of Scientology?
  • Okay, FINE, no non-fiction. What about that new novel from -- okay, no hardcovers either. Yes, yes, I know they’re expensive.
  • I know, let’s just vote!
  • Vote on a book that no one is excited about as a compromise.
  • choosing books

  • Buy a copy and get reading!
  • Allow two weeks to pass. On the day of the meeting, email fellow members explaining that you can’t come that evening because you have only read 11 pages of the book and you have a headache.
  • When everyone else responds saying they totally forgot they have to have dinner with their parents that night and they also just don’t feel like it, agree to postpone the meeting until a week later.
  • Finally get at least 75 percent of club members to appear at a meeting, which takes place at a local bar that’s perfect because it “always has a free table” and “isn’t THAT loud.”
  • friends at a bar

  • Complain about how loud and crowded the bar is for the first 30 minutes of the meeting.
  • Begin a free-form discussion of the book. To ensure democracy, do not select a discussion leader, and to encourage freedom of thought, do not print suggested discussion questions from the Internet.
  • Kick things off by arguing over which of the characters is your favorite, then transition to a debate over whether the plot is “boring.”
  • book discussion

  • Get distracted when the waiter stops by with more drinks, and detour into a conversation about a member’s exciting new job.
  • Devote 30 minutes to a group rant about the difficulty of finding a job that really makes you feel “fulfilled.”
  • Pause at some point to make everyone take a group selfie of your First Official Book Club Meeting to post to Instagram. Smile!
  • drinking with friends

  • Remember that you have to meet your significant other for dinner in 15 minutes. Depart in a hurry, congratulating yourself for the intellectually stimulating conversation you just had about literature. Leave everyone else to continue drinking and talking about anything other than the assigned book.
  • Repeat steps 8-15.
  • Repeat steps 14-15.
  • Shamefacedly email your clubmates suggesting that maybe this whole book club thing just isn’t working out.
  • Breathe a sigh of relief as all the other members respond agreeing, and mutually decide to table the whole “book club” thing until you’re all less busy.
  • Allow several months to pass in relative peace and quiet.
  • books nap

  • Repeat steps 1-27.
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