After our first introductory meeting (Nov. 2005) and first Book Club discussion (Jan. 2006), our group had some interesting suggestions to help cultivate the rewarding experience we were seeking.  Your club might want to adopt some or all of these.  So here they are:


This is why you’re all in a book club…. And while your motives might differ, in the end you all want to better understand or connect with other persons to enhance the experience of the book selected.  If your club chooses to host your discussions in each other’s homes, consider these suggestions:

                       1)         Begin on time!  If arrivals start at 6 PM, begin the discussion
                                    promptly at 6:15.  Any late persons should simply and
                                    quietly get a drink or snack and join the group immediately.  No
                                    need to explain why you are late, just come and sit down.   
                        2)         Start with the discussion, not the pupu’s…offer them before and
                                    after but not during so that our 1 hour is more focused.
                        3)         Limit the discussion period to 1 or 1.5 hours even, then start socializing.
                        4)         Start with the questions and not with how you liked or disliked the    
                                    book because this takes time and will become evident as you make                 
                                    your commentary during the discussion. 


Everyone wants to be seen, heard and to have the opportunity to speak without interruption.  Talking over the speaker or with other people while the speaker has the floor is simply discourteous – albeit all too common with a large group.  Of course, if your club serves alcohol, that doesn’t help, but HEY!  Banning it altogether isn’t an option either because you still want to enjoy yourselves.  So with the help of the host(s) and the club organizers, everyone should work together at staying the course and giving the speaker his or her due.

Suggestions:    1)         If alcohol is offered – fine!  Fill your glass and join the group.  But  
                                  “the bar” should wait to open until the discussion is through and
                                  the social hour has begun.
                      2)         Have a “speaker’s paddle” that is passed around.  When held, it’s
                                  your turn to speak and not anyone else’s.  We do not use this suggestion, but other
                                  groups might want to.
                      3)         Control yourself - If all else fails and you find yourself wanting to speak out of turn; take
                                  a sip of whatever’s in your glass instead…. It will surely keep you happy.



Again, if your club chooses not to use a restaurant for its discussions, keep in mind that every person in turn will have the opportunity to host the Book Club’s discussion either alone or with another member.  Hopefully, too, individual styles will be appreciated and not competed against.

Non-member guests should be at the discretion of the host(s) but at no time should a member bring a guest unannounced. Here on Maui, our members seem to attract the most interesting people and we don’t want to miss out on someone’s wonderful contribution, so we allow non-member quests. We do prefer, however, that the guest has read the book out of courtesy to our group but we leave it up to the host(s) as to whether or not a non-member guest in invited into her home.

Discussion questions or conversation starters are at the design of the host and something she spent time and consideration cultivating, so appreciate that fact.  Of course adding your own insightful provocations during your time on the floor is fine and even encouraged.
Refreshments served by the host are entirely up to her and it can be anything from nothing to something, or simply pupus, a dessert, or even just cheese and crackers.  Again, IT’S ABOUT THE BOOK not the food and wine.  There will be no “rule” that says you have to serve anything in particular or even anything at all.  And as for alcohol, that again is up to the host…BYOB, host supplies or eliminates. 

Suggestions:    1)        If BYOB please state at the current meeting or e-mail everyone prior. 
                      2)        If you want to bring a bottle for the host, of course it’s okay! 


Everyone is together for the same reason – you love books and you like talking about what excites you after having read one.  So, enjoy!  You’re in good, intelligent company with plenty of fantastic reading material ahead of you that will hopefully leave you with a better appreciation of the book, your friends and their contributions.