Book clubs have always been a great way to enjoy books, meet up with other people and have lively and passionate debates about books you love... or love to hate! You have a group of people who want to start a book club and you’ve scheduled a time to get together that works best for everyone but now what? Just because our branches are temporarily closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t host or participate in a book club – you will just have to do it a little bit differently. Here’s how:
Choosing a Book
The first step is choosing a title – some clubs have themes (like classic titles, mysteries and thrillers or historical fiction) while other clubs have members take turns on choosing a title. The options are endless! It’s best to consider elements like topic, reading level and length so that all book club members feel comfortable with the club’s choice.
Novelist is a great starting place. It has thousands of reading lists based on genres, themes, read-alikes. It even has a feature where you can make your own “appeal mix”, by choosing from categories like “character”, “pace”, “storyline” and “writing style”.
At EPL, we have multiple resources where you can access eBooks. Can’t get a library card at the moment? No problem! We’ve included options for that too.
- Freading - There are over 135,000 titles, from various genres, that are always available – no waiting, no holds required!
- Overdrive - Overdrive has a collection of bookclub-friendly titles in both ebook and eaudiobook format, with multiple copies of each title.
Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection - This collection brings together over 200 titles from publishers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, including Indigenous authors and stories.
- Read Alberta eBooks - This collection gives you instant access to more than 1,500 titles from Alberta publishers from a variety of genres including fiction, graphic novels, young adult and poetry. Internationally published titles in French are also available.
- Project Gutenbergopens a new window - Project Gutenberg is an online resource and you don’t need a library card to access it. This collection has over 60,000 eBooks and they are all free! They can be downloaded or read online. The collection focuses on older titles, and titles with expired US copyright.
Meeting and Discussing Digitally
Book clubs don’t have to meet in person! There are a lot of digital resources that are freely available that allow you to meet and chat (and argue!) remotely.
- Google Hangoutsopens a new window
- Facebook Messenger opens a new window
- Skype opens a new window
- Discord opens a new window
- Zoomopens a new window
Facilitating a Book Club
You’ve chosen and read a book, you’ve set up your digital meeting space, now it's time to discuss and share. Here are some resources that can help you structure and lead your discussion.
- LitLoversopens a new window has over 3,000 book discussion guides, in addition to generic questions and information on how to talk about books.
- Reading Group Guidesopens a new window has over 4,000 discussion guides, including questions and book reviews.
- EPL also has a generic discussion guide that we use for our own Book Clubs. Download your own copy to get started!