What to Know Before Going to Your First Book Club

If you’ve always wanted to join a book club, but are unsure where to find the right one, you need to check out my post on How to Find a Book Club and Meet New Friends. If you’ve found one and you’re reading the book, I’m here to tell you what you need to know before you go to your first book club meetup.

A lot more people are like you than you think. You want to meet new people, but you’re nervous to put yourself out there in a situation where you know no one. The good news is other people are feeling this exact way. You just have to do it scared.

Going to your first book club, you might be thinking that you need to take notes, put together an opinionated argument for debate or that you HAVE to finish the book. However, the book club is really about doing what you love and discussing it with people who have those same interests. Here are a few things to know before you go.

Have a few talking points prepared

You may not have to talk much during the book club, but it is always great to have a few ideas before going into the meetup. If you loved a certain character or quote in the book, take note of it and why you felt so strong about it.

Going in prepared with your thoughts can help when questions come up or when there is awkward silence to fill. It helps to direct the discussion and lead to new ones about topics within the book.  

You will get different views on the book

Some people don’t like to comment too much on the book, others do. There aren’t usually any rules in the book club, but every group is different. When I went to the book club I had a strong opinion about why I didn’t like it. I was nervous everyone was going to talk about how much they loved it, but that wasn’t the case.

Everyone’s view on the book varied which is something I really enjoyed. It helped me see things from a different perspective. It changed my opinion to not be so one sided to see good parts in it.

Spoilers will happen – so read the book!

It’s not required that you finish the book if you don’t want to, but the whole point of the book club is to discuss the book (and then maybe talk about your dogs later). This isn’t a college course and it’s not necessary for you to put together a thesis with unique ideas. If you didn’t finish the book just get ready for spoilers.

You’ll likely find out the plot and how the story ends. On the other hand, this might inspire you to continue reading the book. Hearing other perspectives might be motivation to look at it differently. If not, at least you’ll know what types of books to avoid or an author that isn’t really for you.

Start a Goodreads before to connect

It was great that going in I already researched and added the book to my Goodreads account. I read reviews (without spoilers) and got a good idea of what to expect. I wouldn’t always suggest this as sometimes you can get swayed before reading.

However, when I was asked what other books I was reading, I was able to go back and say recent ones I read and discuss a bit of those too – with a few of the women I was sitting near. We added each other as friends which is a good way to get other book recommendations and connect with others.

You will meet new people

I’m so bad at introducing myself when everyone else around me sounds 10x more put together than I do. At your book club, remember that you’re never in the same spot in life as anyone else. If you’re happy waitressing or doing so and trying to find a new job as a marketing coordinator, that isn’t something to think is lesser than others. You can’t ever compare because you truly don’t know how others live their lives.

You also never know who you could meet that could help you get there. Meeting new people can help you get more connections, while also bringing you new friends in the process. You might not clique in the first session, but you might gravitate towards people that are similar

I also felt like at the end of the book club I should be getting people’s numbers as if I was dating. I haven’t made new friends in so long that I just felt so out of place.

You will discover new books and genres

I always enjoyed reading, but never wanted to stray from the authors or books I knew. I wasn’t the best at trying to new genres such as historical fiction or autobiographies, but a book club is a great way to read things you normally wouldn’t. It can lead you to read genres you.

Every book club is different. Going to your first one may feel intimidating, especially if you’re not one to think of themes or pick up on anything but the general gist of the story. That’s completely OKAY. Just know that if you go to yours and you feel uncomfortable, there are always different ones to try.

Reading the book is the best way to feel confident – you will have good discussion points, a view on the book and an opinion on the story. If you don’t get through it though, be honest and give your input. This could be helpful for choosing future books or help you see things differently.

Also, it’s important to note, that when you go to a book club it doesn’t mean that it’s definitely the right one for you. Every book club is different. Sometimes it’s about trial and error. But don’t judge your first time because it felt intimidating or you hated the book. I’d say to go to about 3 meetups before you make a decision to try elsewhere.

If you still have any questions about my experience, let me know in the comments! If you’ve gone to a book club, what other tips do you have for a first timer?

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