Starting a Facebook Book Club

Several months ago, a few of my old college friends started a book club using Facebook.

We’re all spread across the world and we wanted an opportunity for us to read a book and share our thoughts with each other. All of us were once very avid readers, but some of us have fallen into a pattern of reading less and less and this was a way to get us all to read more.

So far, it’s been quite fun. The books so far have been mostly nonfiction, with a mix of sports and historical titles. We use Facebook as a means to discuss books, with a calendar for when we’re allowed to start discussing chapters.

So, for example, when we read Moneyball, we had a schedule where every two or three days, a new chapter could be discussed, as Moneyball has twelve chapters.

Each month, we have a person who’s the “leader” who starts a thread before the book, one for each chapter or section, and one for post-book thoughts. Others can offer up discussions on anything related, but they need to abide by spoiler issues. There’s also usually a discussion about what books to read in the future.

This book club hits a home run in several different ways.

First, we’re all encouraged to read, often reading books we wouldn’t have otherwise read. The sports and history and business books we’ve read have introduced all of us to new ideas and encouraged us to spend our time stretching our minds.

Second, the library makes the books free. We can check out any of the books we’re reading at the library. The activity of reading is really cheap, too.

Third, using Facebook as a forum is free. There’s no additional cost for us to use Facebook for these discussions. Sure, there’s a little ad for a book that shows up on the pages, but that’s about it.

Fourth, it’s helping us to maintain old friendships, strengthen them, and build new ones. I didn’t know a few people in this club before it started. I barely knew a few others. I did know some of them pretty well, but it’s been a long time. Because of this book club, I’ve built a good relationship with almost all of them.

Finally, it encourages us all to read with focus that we can discuss it sensibly. The discussions work best when everyone’s clearly read the book. Thus, this book club encourages us all to feed our minds with books.

We learn something. We build relationships. We have a leisure activity that costs virtually nothing. We also have a lot of fun doing it.

If you’d like to do this yourself, here’s how. Start a private Facebook group, then talk the idea over with a few friends and invite them. I’ve found it’s useful to have a person who is the “host” for each book you read and starts the discussions on pieces of the book with a post outlining their own thoughts on that chapter or section. Rotate the “host” around as you read different books.

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