Clubbing, Literarily

Maybe you’re too busy studying for exams to know this, but we’re only 2 days away from Labour Day! It’s ironic every year that students will continue to toil away in their studies at home on this day, despite the dictum that it’s supposed to be a day of rest. Do adults get it any easier, though? I’m quite sure that in workaholic countries like Singapore, Labour Day is just like a weekend — you bring your work home.

In the spirit of no-work though, today’s entry is a suggestion of a leisurely recreational activity you can do on Labour Day as you get together with similar holidaying friends, start a book club! There’s nothing lonelier than staying in to read all by yourself on a day when everybody’s out having fun, so why don’t you mix your hobby with some healthy social activity?

But of course, not many of us have enough bibliophilic friends to have a club of our own, and book clubs are always a good way to know new people as well. To make a successful public book club, though, there’re certain difficulties to consider beforehand.

1. Plan what your book club will be like.

Before you even look out for members, you’ve got to have a good idea of what your book club will incorporate. You should think about any requirements you may have, such as whether you can meet only once a month, or you’ll only dabble in fantasy. These requirements should be made clear to prospective members right from the start. You should also prepare a location for the meeting. However, it’s of course fine to let your members make better suggestions or steer the club in a different direction. It’s a fine balance between member autonomy and control, and if there’re certain restrictions you must put in place, then state them clearly from the start, and leave the rest to discussion.

2. Advertise.

Advertising’s required in everything, not simply book clubs. Flyers are the most straightforward way to spread the word around, but you must be careful to distribute them to your target audience, whether it’s in schools, libraries or out on the streets. You can also advertise online, if there’s a website or forum that allows you to reach your target audience. But be careful of the kinds of people you’ll get from such blind advertising, since most of them mayn’t suit the mood you’re setting. Also be careful to specify that you’re discussing books, not ordering them at a low price.

3. During the first meeting.

Provided you’ve managed to gather a sufficient pool of people, your first meeting’s aim should be to make everyone feel cosy. Introduce yourselves over refreshments and set out expectations, such as the portion of time that should be spent on reading between meetings, responsibilities of each member, whether you can bring guests, etcetera. And during this time, you should also decide on your first book. You can always start off with a bestseller you like, or get everybody to contribute a suggestion and take a vote. And before you end the meeting, be sure to think up a name for your book club. It fosters a sense of belonging among everyone, and makes it easier to advertise in the future too.

Book clubs sound like a great way to learn of new books, but also a great deal of commitment to read them! I hope you’ve tons of fun building one though! After all, Labour Day isn’t for labour.

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