Book lovers – How to start a book club


Reading is a classic hobby that keeps the mind sharp and provides bookworms with food for the soul, as fictional and nonfictional stories take readers on adventures through the author’s life or their carefully-crafted narratives. 

Although reading is usually a solo activity, discussing exciting, riveting, and relatable tales afterward can provide a sense of connection that many yearn for, regardless of age. That’s why book clubs for seniors can be incredibly valuable.

Below, we’ll cover how to start a book club and successfully form a small group to discuss their favourite books.


Communicate the benefits 


When trying to convince prospective members to join, whether it be friends, neighbours, or community members, it helps to convey the benefits of a book club. Much like any other club that encourages being social (whether a birdwatching club or an indoor walking club), emphasize the fun that can be had, forming connections based on common interests.

Meeting weekly or bi-weekly to share interpretations of a text and discuss which parts of the book were the most interesting can open a person up to new concepts, helping them connect to ideas they may value.

Reading is entertaining and can be mentally stimulating, and immensely helpful for improving one’s memory, which is particularly beneficial for older adults. Further discussions on readings can invigorate readers with different life experiences, allowing them to exchange their thoughts.

When it comes to book clubs for seniors, technology has made connecting with others much more accessible, bridging significant distance gaps, so if frequent meet-ups in person are a problem, consider meeting virtually.

Of course, if you plan to do in-person book club meetings, you can always entice potential members with snacks or homemade goodies!


Be patient when reaching out to members.


With any club, whether it’s a knitting club or a book club for seniors, recruiting members takes time. It’s essential to balance persistence with patience as you reach out to people.

Forming a small, connected community requires a time investment that will hopefully pay off with company that your loved one can enjoy spending time with now and then.


Ensure accessibility


The best clubs for seniors are ones that ensure accessibility. Accessibility could mean accommodating:

  • The subject matter of books
  • Communication methods between club members
  • The method and location of meetings

Communication should account for members who may have hearing or vision loss, and if meeting in person, spaces should be accessible for those with mobility issues.

Although some may prefer physical versions of books, consider also recommending or providing books in audio or digital formats. Often, you can zoom in and change the font size of e-books and the font type, which can help those with dyslexia.


Think about and discuss what kind of books to read.


Once members have been recruited, you should start thinking about what books will be read and discussed in their book club for seniors. Conducting a member survey may be helpful to gauge what everyone is interested in.

Think about things like:

  • Whether the books will be fiction or nonfiction
  • Genre
  • Subject matter
  • Length

A great way to brainstorm books to read is by searching online. Check reliable sources like the New York Times bestseller list, or do a walkthrough of your local bookstore. Choosing a book everyone agrees on is essential to ensure members will be engaged.


Brainstorm topics for discussion.


How will your loved one structure their discussions? While reading, they can use sticky notes or tabs to flag important sections they want to discuss.

The best clubs for seniors are ones that encourage participation and allow for thought-provoking conversations.

Here are some general topics that they can begin with as a jumping-off point:

  • Each member’s favourite (and least favourite) part of the book
  • What chapter or scene was the most impactful
  • Notable quotes from the book
  • What members thought of the writing style
  • The length of the book—was it too short or too long?
  • Opinions on the characters or people included in the book
  • Main themes and whether members relate to them
  • The significance of the book’s title
  • Whether members would read other books by the same author
  • Books that are similar in subject matter or writing style

During the discussion, fostering a comfortable environment that encourages open dialogue and considers each member’s personal experiences is crucial.


Can’t get one started? Try joining one!


If your loved one needs help rounding up enough members for a book club, consider helping them find an existing one geared toward older adults.

Local libraries, bookstores, and community centres will often have book clubs available for all age groups, so try asking to see if any clubs run year-round or during specific seasons.

If mobility is an issue or there’s a lack of available groups in your local region, you might consider online book clubs for seniors. Online communities are a great way to form connections regardless of location.


Ensure your loved one always has company at Seasons Retirement.

Book clubs can be beneficial in many ways, allowing older adults to connect with others, feel a sense of belonging, and form long-lasting companionships based on shared interests. 

Seasons Retirement has locations in Alberta and Ontario, and residents who stay with us lead happy, rich, and fulfilling lives, as they’re encouraged to partake in various activities and social events.

If you want to learn more, contact Seasons Retirement today! 

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