Six Ways to Enjoy a Book Club Discussion Without Reading the Book

mehobbies & me time

How many of you participate in a book club? At one point, I was a member of three. Whether I belong to one or more, I always struggle to find time to read the assigned book. Am I alone in my battle? I mean, come on! I have blogs to read, right?

I have an entire month to read 200-300 pages and yet, I procrastinate or forget or read another book instead. Then, when I get to the book club meeting, I hear the buzz and excitement and discussion starting and want to be part of it and can't.

That's when I came up with these six fabulous ways to take part in the book discussion without actually reading the book. Now, I'm not encouraging you to not read the book. For sure try to complete the reading assignment. And... if you don't, use these tips as your back-up plan for a sound approach to getting the most enjoyment out of book club.

  1. Ask for a summary. Before everyone delves into their thoughts, feelings, and insights about the book, ask the group to provide a brief summer so you know what the book is about. Not only will it help you have a basic understanding of the plot, but it'll benefit the people who have read by reminding them of the story's key points and helping them all get on the same page.
  2. Listen. Pay close attention to the discussion. Listen for themes. Soak in others' reviews.
  3. Ask questions. When you don't understand what's going on, ask the group to explain. Last month, our book club read The Giver by Lois Lowry. I was fascinated with how much the book moved people. I noticed themes, connections, and even gaps in what they were sharing and asked about them. It was awesome to see the conversation evolve as we explored different paths together. I definitely couldn't share, but I could ask and relate.
  4. Share experiences. Most book discussions center around common themes and issues. If you can't share your insights about the book, share your experiences that relate to those themes and issues.
  5. Be social. Unless you are in a really formal book club, not reading the book isn't going to get you low marks or banished from the group. Step in, fess up to your non-book-reading ways, and get the most out of the book club possible. Remember, at the end of the day clubs are social experiences and the books and assigned reading are just a means of getting like-minded people together.
  6. Share a treat! If your book club is open to bringing food, share a delicious snack with the group! Thanks to Einstein Bros. ‘Coffee & A Bagel’ campaign (click here for a chance to win $1,000), I didn’t have to show up empty handed. I took a bagel variety pack (have you tried the Cinnamon Sugar Mini Bagel Poppers?) Mmmmm!), yogurt parfait with berries, and a fruit tray. Einstein's sponsored our meeting as well as this post! Two birds. One stone! Not only that, but everyone squealed with delight at the fun treats and hopefully forgot I didn't come prepared to discuss the book! Make that three birds!

Remember! Book clubs are created for community, friendship, and fun!

Have any other tips for enjoying a book club discussion without reading the book? Please share in the comments below.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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