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How to start a book club: read a book by a writer of colour this summer

Illustration of two people walking out of giant books, looking at one another with illustrated doodles.

Reading is often thought of as a solitary activity, but talking about books can be as fun as reading them in the first place. 

If you’re challenging yourself to read more authors of colour this summer, setting up a book club with your friends could be a good way to keep yourself on track, as well as discovering new books you may not have thought to read otherwise. 

We’ve pulled together some top tips to help you get started.

Your first meeting and choosing what you’ll read

  • Use your first meeting to decide how you want your book club to run, and how often you want to meet. Picking a regular day and time is a helpful way to make sure everyone is able to make it.
  • It’s also a good moment to decide how you’ll choose the books you read: will everyone get a turn to pick a book, or will you all submit selections each month and vote on one?
  • Could you pick a theme or topic, for example friendship, to focus on?
4 book covers on a purple background: The Extraordinary Life of Serena Williams, Tall Story, Girl Woman Other and Run Rebel

Explore recommended books by writers of colour

Talking about the book

  • Make sure you have a few discussion points ready, or a few questions that will kick off the chat before you meet. 
  • If you’re not sure where to start, have a look online to see if anyone else has posted questions about your chosen book, or if there’s an interview with the author that you’d like to share. 
  • You could also mix conversations about the book with other activities. Why not have a watch-along of a film or TV adaptation of a book that you’ve read as a group? Good ones to try might be The Sun is also A Star by Nicola Yoon, or the Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
  • You may even want to go all-out and put together a book-themed quiz; like an emoji quiz where people have to guess the titles of popular books from emojis.

Have fun!

The most important thing, whatever you do, is to have fun! 

Be respectful of each other’s opinions and reading pace, and don’t worry if you don’t like a book that you read – sometimes that can make for the most interesting discussion.

Start your book club here

Image: Taaryn Brench for Penguin

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