This September 22-28 is Banned Book Week, when the National Book Community celebrates the freedom to read! Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by raising awareness of the classic books that have been banned or challenged.
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, book renters, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. Lord of the Flies, Ulysses, and Catcher in the Rye are only some of the books that have been affected by censorship in the past. If you have been thinking about starting a book club in the past, what better time than now! Here are some tips to get you started:
Starting a Book Club
Even though it feels like nearly everything has gone digital, there’s still nothing quite like an old fashioned book club. You get to sit around with old friends and new friends to talk about the themes, characters, story and your favorite moments of a book that you’re all reading. There’s nothing quite like the shared experience of a book club, so why not start one of your very own?
Gather a Core Group
You’ll have an easier time of starting a book club if you already know of one or two people who are interested in the idea. You can ask around your office, your church or any organizations that you’re a part of if anyone has any interest in joining your book club. If you’re relatively new in town, you can advertise your book club either online or by posting up a notice in a few local coffee shops to see if you can generate interest that way.
Ideally, you’ll want to get anywhere from eight to eleven people. Try to find one or two people who you think might already know of even more people who might want to join. If you can get a large enough book club, you might be able to order books through wholesale book distributors and get discounts on whatever book you’re reading.
Set a Meeting Time
Once you’ve gathered enough people, you’ll want to set up a regular meeting time. Since it can be difficult to match up everyone’s schedule, you might want to just start out with a core group and at least have your first meeting to see how things go. That way when you start to have more people join the book club you’ll be that much more organized. Something you might want to do is actually set a day and time before you start advertising so you can go ahead and weed out anyone who won’t be able to make it. You’ll be saving their time and yours.
Set Ground Rules
Your book group will need some ground rules to keep everything civilized and organized .You can either include everyone’s input while you’re setting up the ground rules, or you can turn to core members of the group if you already have an idea of what you’d like those rules to be. Examples of rules could be how you choose the books, who will host meetings, the person who will be in charge of the group discussions and the type of commitment that everyone is expected to make to the group. This can also be the time where you all decide on when you’ll regularly meet.
Once you officially start the book club, don’t get discouraged if it seems small at first. Some people would much rather join a book club that’s well-established rather than one that’s still using training wheels. Continue to advertise and invite people to join. You should also prepare yourself for people dropping out of the group as well. This is all of the process, so don’t get discouraged.
If you’re interested in getting kids to read, you can start a children’s book club and order Dr. Seuss book sets. It’s always best to get kids reading as early as possible so that you can help stimulate their minds and help them remain readers throughout life.
Curious to know if any of the books you have read made the list? Check out the infographic below to find out the reason these ten classic books have been banned in the US.
Starting a book club and infographic of banned books presented By BookPal.