possibilities presented here are for kid through grown-up book clubs
including those focused on non-fiction, romances, history book clubs and so on. Your
common sense will tell you if any are inappropriate for kids’ book clubs
if that's who you're dealing with.
However, be careful of letting your common sense
tell you any of the book club ideas are too youthful for grown-up book
clubs, if that's what you're dealing with. Go ahead and take that train
ride in disguise with your adult history book club, or pass secret notes
at the coffee house without anyone seeing with other grown-ups of your
spy novel club.
How life gets richer
People who read fiction live far more lives in one lifetime than others. They are tuned in to more outer opportunity and inner beauty.
if you actually physically partake in book club ideas that turn the
stories in your head into physical reality on earth, life can leap into
greater richness. It’s as though a veil lifts and you see more of the
world everywhere you go.
1. Visit or re-enact a scene from the book. Here's is one of my favorite book club ideas. After enjoying “Anne of
Green Gables,” and “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” I joined a group of
kids and parents alike who had so much fun holding a
turn-of-the-18th/19th-century school day in an historical society’s
one-room schoolhouse. We dressed the part in bonnets and knickers, and
brought lunches in tin buckets.
You don’t have to get quite that elaborate and it works for all types of genres, not just history book clubs.
After completing your group’s book, choose an appropriate (and legal) scene
from the book and re-create it (or something similar) as a group
activity, or even on your own. Look for scenes that involve doing something your group rarely
if ever takes part in. For example, depending on the setting and
Go to a small town café for lunch where the spy might have been looking for clues.
Have afternoon tea at a Victorian tea shop after reading your Victorian novel.
Visit the nearest China town, or an Asian food shop or restaurant once your novel set in China is complete.
Enjoy an outing to the local theater if that's where the couple in your romance novel first met.
Take a short train ride wearing disguises and pretend you’re
different characters while you visit with each other in the dining car
(if you have to show picture ID and costume won’t work, put on light
disguises after boarding similar to your character such as costume
glasses, and unusual clothing).
Find a horse farm that allows visitors to volunteer after reading about the wealthy race horse owner.
an old-fashioned picnic in a park wearing garb similar to your
characters. You can always tell curious passersby you just returned from
a Victorian or renaissance fair.
Take a bus ride
if your character met his or her lover, murderer, hero or long lost
uncle whom everyone had thought was dead at the bus station.
We can’t all be lucky enough to visit Missouri’s historical society
to tour the author Laura Ingalls Wilder home, but look locally for historic architecture similar to your book’s setting. Contact your historical
society to see what old barns or other buildings are open to visitors.
reading a book set in Nantucket or Cape Cod, take a walk together at
the nearest marina or public boat docking area and go out for clam
Go to a stock car race or watch a free jazz quartet concert as a group if you’ve never done these, but your character did.
finished with your historical novel, have everyone in your book group
choose the eldest member of his or her family and hand-write a letter to
that person with an old-fashioned feather pen (sometimes available at
stationery shops) if your main character communicated this way.
if there is a Native American/First Nations society nearby and attend
dances, demonstrations or gatherings they invite the public to when your
Western or otherwise related book is finished.
Go on a horseback trail ride when your Western is complete.
Eat at an East Indian restaurant when finished with your book set in India.
Window shop at an import store or take a guided canoe ride after reading about the adventuresome world explorer.
a local minor league baseball game after your romance novel about the
woman who broke up with her two-timing baseball hero lover and fell for a
lowly pizza cook instead (then go out for pizza).
2. Occasionally choose a local author in the genre
you’re reading, or a book about your actual location. When complete,
create a self-guided tour for your group to see sites mentioned in the
book or go to places the author herself went for inspiration or
3. Do a hands-on project from the book. One of the
better known book club ideas is to make something culinary from the
book, such as African redbush tea from “The Number One Ladies Detective
Agency,” now widely available in the USA. There are even fiction book
club books for knitters that give knitting project instructions in the
But your group can choose even more creative book club ideas. Depending on projects that happened in your book:
Plant the flowers your character grew.
Go to the bulk herb section, mix a concoction and cast a spell of love after finishing your paranormal novel.
simple modern versions of crafts you noted in the book at craft stores:
dip candles, put together a kids’ quilt from a kit meant for complete
beginners, make a sock doll, or choose a kit-type woodworking project
Choose a project from a hobby
store and complete a science project after reading about the mad
scientist who discovered how to turn sand to gold.
or decorate your own personal journals, diaries or explorers’
sketchbooks after reading books written as the notes and diaries of
their characters. See the article on journal making and writing ideas
reading about the famous European artist, find a beginners’ drawing or
painting book and hold a beginners’ art salon, following along together
in the book. You can even get separate paint-by-number kits and even
artsy coloring posters (for kids and adults) for each book club member,
and paint as a group activity.
4. Look for book-related future local events and time them as a finale activity: Look for agriculture fairs,
rodeos, history or renaissance fairs, food festivals, art shows, car
shows, science shows, holiday events, and so on, and choose a book with a
topic that relates to one of these events, timing the completion of the
book to be finished when your book club can attend:
Right after reading a book set on a cattle ranch, you’ll see the cow barn or roping event at the ag fair far differently.
your group has completed a novel with a winter Victorian setting,
you’ll have twice the fun at a local Christmas Victorian themed
If your town is too small to offer
authentic ballet or professional dance, find the closest town that has a
dance studio for locals and see if they put on public recitals. Then
time your romance novel about the ballerina or jazz dance wannabe to be
complete right before the recital.
Book club themes:
General book club genre themes include crime, mystery,
romance, science-fiction, fantasy, historical/epic/saga, classics,
children’s, spiritual, philosophy and non-fiction including health
how-tos and current social affairs.
Cookbooks with extra prose: Not all cookbooks are just
recipes and instructions. Especially for foodie, travel and history book
clubs, some local and themed cookbooks have fascinating facts about
local history or how the potato got from Peru to Ireland. This article on
cooking clubs may also be of interest.