1. You don’t have enough members
2. There’s not enough book variety
Your book club may have been formed around a particular genre — like mysteries or what your favorite celebrity is reading — but perhaps your group is growing bored with reading similar stories month after month. Maybe nobody seems interested in finishing the novel or your discussions have dwindled.
If your members seem blasé about your recent books, suggest trying a new genre or type of book for your next meeting. If you’ve always read fiction, try nonfiction, or vice versa. Read a Colleen Hoover story like Ugly Love for Valentine’s Day or a dark fantasy around Halloween like Rebecca Roanhorse’s Tread of Angels, set in a 1883 mining town where the descendents of demons still reside. Breaking out of a book rut could get members excited about reading again — if only to sate their curiosity — and generate fresh discussions. You never know, your book club may decide to broaden its scope permanently.
3. You’re choosing all the books
If you’re leading a book club, give yourself a pat on the back. It can be hard to maintain a group over the years, even one centered around reading. It’s no small job to keep a group organized and decide meeting dates, times, and venues. You may also be picking the group’s book each meeting, either formally or informally. On one hand, this is fantastic: there are so many good books you’d love to read. But after a while, one person choosing may lead to reading the same type of book month after month (see point above) or other members becoming less invested in assigned reading material.
Suggest sharing this responsibility among the members for a few months by taking turns finding new books to discuss. Along with injecting some variety into your reading list, it could make the book-chooser more invested in finishing and discussing the book. And who knows? Maybe another member will discover something juicy like Kirstin Chen’s con artist story Counterfeit, and you’ll all be tearing through the pages to read what happens.
4. You need to spice up your setting
5. Your books aren’t provoking conversation
You’ve got enough members, enough different kinds of books, and you’re meeting at a favorite spot. But when the conversation turns to the book, the room either falls silent or people interrupt to talk about the weather, work, or sports. Sure, it can be fun to have side conversations during book club. But if no one seems interested in discussing the book, that could be a problem. Thought-provoking books push us out of our comfort zones, leading to novel ideas and conversations we never imagined–and often building understanding and closeness with those we’re discussing with.
If you’re missing out on this rich part of a book group, make sure you’re including books that are sure to elicit strong responses. Perfect examples include honest and raw memoirs like Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died or books that tackle difficult choices or scandals like Vladimir, which follows the wife of a professor accused of misconduct who develops an obsession with a campus newcomer. When you’re trying to inject some sizzle into your book club, it never hurts to try a read that’s salacious and even a little shocking. Your book group might still be talking about that novel months later. These memorable discussions are what makes book clubs so fun and rewarding.
About the Author: G.G. Andrew
G.G. is a freelance writer and author of romance and women's fiction, including the short story "Everything Left Unsaid" in the collection A Million Ways: Stories of Motherhood. A Texas transplant, she lives outside Houston with her husband and two sons, both of whom are on the autism spectrum. In her spare time, she enjoys browsing bookstores, yoga, paper crafts, cooking, genealogy, and anything related to Halloween. She's probably drinking tea right now.