Book club party guide

Stack of books by a window.

Host a book club party for the books with our planning tips, from creating the club to keeping the conversation flowing.


Start by sending out a book club-themed Evite invitation!


How you decorate for your book club depends a lot on what type of book you read. For a gothic novel, dim the lights and light lots of candles. For a tear-jerker, have tissue boxes ready and easily accessible.

And why not try decorating with books? Get books from the library by the author you’re reading or biographies about that author. The books will help set the mood, and you can thumb through them for references or to look for topics to expand your discussion.

Most importantly, be sure you have enough chairs and pillows on hand to keep your guests comfortable—just because you’re reading doesn’t mean it has to feel like school!

Club basics

Think about the type of book club you’d like to be in. Small or large, structured or chatty, classic reads or new releases? Once you’ve decided how you want your club to function, invite people to join you. How many? Between four and eight usually works best, because there are enough people for a varied discussion, but not too many that your events are too disorganized or hard to schedule.

At your first meeting, take some time to discuss how you want the group to work. Some topics you can tackle are:

  • Where to meet: Take turns meeting in one another’s homes or select local restaurants and bookstores.
  • How to pick books: Take turns selecting books or find a list of books online and go down the list. Or, if you want to keep things casual, ask members to bring book suggestions to each meeting and then decide as a group.
  • How to discuss the book: Decide how much of the evening you want to devote to discussing the book. Some people may solely want to discuss the book while others are more interested in the social aspects of the club. You may also want to set ground rules for the discussions to keep spirited debates from turning into arguments.


When you’re planning a book club meeting, you want to think about ways to liven up the conversation. If the book is a dud that leaves you little to discuss or debate, you can really save the evening if you plan ahead. Look online for discussion guides and search for reviews of the book. When the conversation lulls, ask a question from the discussion guide or read aloud a review and ask if people agree or disagree.

Another way to bring the book to life is to ask the group which actors the readers envision in the main characters’ roles. This sparks new topics and lets you see if your assessment of the characters matches the rest of the group’s.


The food you choose to serve at your book club meetings depends on how much you want to spend and prepare, and whether there’s a dominant theme in the book.

You can plan your menu around the setting and meals in the book. Or, if food isn’t your priority, call for a pizza and get the eating out of the way before the discussion so you don’t have to talk with your mouth full or thumb through pages with greasy fingers.


Consider making a "Bookmaker’s Luck" (serves 1)

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce white rum
  • Lime juice (to taste)
  • Orange juice (to taste)
  • Ginger ale (to taste)
  • 1/2 ounce crème de bananas

Pour vodka, rum, lime juice and orange juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well; strain into a highball glass one-third-filled with ice cubes. Fill the glass with ginger ale, top with crème de bananas, stir once and serve.

For a nonalcoholic alternative, prepare a pitcher of lemonade or another juice.

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