In a world that is constantly striving for your attention, deciding to disconnect and tune in to yourself can feel like a rebellious act. Whether you meditate or do some yoga or go on intuitive walks, connecting with yourself offline can feel like you’re going against the grain — like you’re bucking social norms, just by tuning into yourself! That’s because we are all so hyper-connected these days. No matter what social platform you’re on, chances are you get stuck in an endless loop of scrolling at least a few times a week. And to be honest, it makes sense! After coming through the last few years, we are lonelier than ever and facing a collective deficit of real connection. So social media seems like the obvious place to reach out when we need to feel like we’re not alone.
However, somewhere between reaching out to feel more connected and actually feeling more connected is a big gap to cross. And sometimes what we really need is to both feel like we can tune into ourselves and connect with others in a real and human way. Enter: The Book Club! There is no better feeling than sitting with friends IRL, talking about a good book, or perhaps luxuriously lounging in your favorite luxury silk robe to feel rejuvenated. An in-person book club gives you both personal attunement and social connection. It opens up your brain and imagination to new ideas and gives you space to share and listen to others’ ideas. It’s the social part of social media that feels good, while also giving you a chance to keep yourself grounded in real life. So today in the journal, we’re going to help you with this rebellious act of hopping offline and into the real world of a social book club in just a few easy steps.
The most important first step in starting your book club (or anything for that matter!) is to define your why. Why do you want to start a book club? Is it to meet new people? Is it for an excuse to wear your favorite plus size long kimono duster to an event? Is it to keep you accountable as you work you way through your reading list? It could be for any number of reasons! It could even be because you never considered it before and you want to try something new. Sit down (draped in your plus size long kimono duster if you like) and journal about the reasons why you’d like to start a book club. Get to the heart of what’s appealing to you and what you hope to gain from and give to it. Your why will help you determine the rest of your decisions. Your why is the thing that will act as a north star and make this a super fun process that is gratifying at the same time.
Your why will naturally influence the next step of starting your book club — determining the vibe and feel of it. Perhaps you really want to learn something new each time you read a book, so you decide to make it a very formal and intellectual feel, asking members to do some additional research before attending. However, maybe you want it to be all about nourishment and relaxation. Perhaps you slip into your green kimono robe each time, ask your friends to wear their luxury silk robes, and make dinner for them. Maybe the book discussion runs secondary to the relaxing vibe. Whatever feels best to you, decide on the vibe ahead of time and let people know what to expect.
Now it’s time to bring people together! Invite your friends into the book club and then, depending on how large you’d like the group to be, start bringing in new members. You can do this a number of ways — post on social, showing photos of you and your friends at the book club in your gorgeous luxury silk robes having a grand old time. Ask the local bookstore or library to share your book club flyers with patrons. Or even ask current book club members to bring a friend once a month or so. The beautiful thing about your book club is there are so many ways to invite people in and create an ever-evolving and inclusive community.
You can go about this several different ways, so choose which one is the most fun for you! You can circle up your girlfriends, clad in your beautiful long kimono robes, cocktails or mocktails in hand, and decide once a quarter what your reads will be. You can circle up with just yourself in your beautiful long kimono robe and choose for the group! You can also leave it to chance, or let members suggest during the actual club meetings themselves. Any way you go about it, make sure it’s fun! And decide your book-picking strategy before you start getting together so that everyone knows the expectations and you can find something that works great for the group.
Now comes the actual discussion! It’s not just the gorgeous long kimono robes you may be wearing to lounge and discuss your favorite novel — it’s the questions. Choosing the right questions or discussion strategy is key to making the book club a great time. Decide if you want to have an intellectual chat, or if you’re willing to veer off into all sorts of other conversations, or perhaps a combination of both. Decide how you will get back on track if you venture into other topics. Or decide that it’s more than fine to go down a different rabbit hole from where you began. Make sure that the one thing you decide on is guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what to expect out of discussions, how to keep things respectful if contentious topics come up, and what is expected of each book club member in terms of contributing to the conversation.
And don’t forget — have fun! If you create a book club with a luxury silk robe dress code, make sure you snap photos and share with us so we can see and celebrate your club!