How To Start A Literary Society

Well, friends, I am late getting Grit & Grace up this month for a good reason - I went to Luke's Diner this morning!  As in Gilmore Girls.  As in Free Coffee.  Clearly my priorities are in tip top shape.

I binge-watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix a couple years ago, and I just couldn't pass up a themed day like this at a coffee shop no less.  So a Gilmore-Girl-loving friend and I went to check it out!  For those of you who couldn't make it - the free coffee was black, and though I love black coffee, my friend and I upgraded to a latte.  They had a "Luke's" sign out front; a sign reading "No Cell Phones!" (since Luke hates cell phones); Lorelei coffee quotes; and all the baristas dressed in plaid, aprons, and backward hats like Luke.  We waited in line for 40 minutes (it was a long line) and discussed Rory's relationships (Team Jess!).  It was a great way to spend the morning.

So, in the spirit of Gilmore Girls and Rory's love for books...

Today I am going to talk about how to start a Literary Society - because a couple months ago, I started one!  

What is a Literary Society you may ask?  According to my definition, a Literary Society is like a book club, only there are no assigned books - you just get together every month or two with your bookish friends to talk about what you've been reading and maybe get some recommendations!  

A couple months ago I was listening to The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society - which is a great audiobook, by the way - and I thought, why do we not have Literary Societies anymore?  Why can't bookish people get together every now and then and blurt out all their bookish thoughts?  As a busy mom, I like the idea of a Literary Society much better than a book club - because I'm pretty sure if I started a book club, I would rarely make it through the assigned chapters before the meeting, and I'm pretty sure other busy women would have the same problem.  This way we could read what we like and just meet up to talk about what we thought, which is much less pressure than a book club.

So, I threw it out on Facebook, and before you know it we had our first meeting over coffee and cheesecake.  It was everything I wanted it to be, and one of my goals for October is to get our next meeting set up!  

We are still working on a name.  It's hard to top The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society.  I'll keep you posted.

If any of you are interested in starting your own Literary Society, I have a few suggestions...

Invite a bunch of people.  

Some of your best girlfriends may or may not be readers, so my suggestion is to put it out there for extended acquaintances and see who is serious enough about books to join!  We had five of us at our first meeting, and several more who will probably come this next time.  Some ladies I knew well, and some I didn't know very well - but talking books will help you get to know someone better pretty quickly!

Don't be snobbish.  

If you're the type who only reads high literature or classics, make sure you don't make someone feel silly if they like popular fiction - or vice versa.  Focus on making sure everyone feels welcomed and validated for their reading choices. One thing that I've learned is that not very many people read, period, so choosing to spend time on books in general gives you something in common!

(Note: Be welcoming of all kinds of reading choices, but do use good judgment too - our group is full of Christian ladies that I know well enough to trust not to be recommending something inappropriate or racy.  If your group is more mixed you may need to set a guideline for discussing racy or controversial books to respect each other's convictions.) 

Set up your Society plan.  

Our group decided to meet every other month to give us time to get through books between meetings (we're all busy moms), and we are all going to read The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society at some point, since it inspired the group.  Our group has kept it pretty casual as far as guidelines go, but depending on the mix of personality, politics, and faith, you may need more structure or discussion guidelines.  I'd say to keep guidelines as simple as you are able, whatever you decide on as a group, and make it clear that everyone is to be as respectful as possible to each other.

Make it fun!  

If meeting at The Cheesecake Factory doesn't make a book club fun, I don't know what does, but I'd love to hear your ideas on ways to make meetings interesting since our Literary Society is still in the early stages!

Have you ever been a part of a book club or Literary Society?   What was your favorite or least favorite part?


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Hannah said...

I love this idea! I would join your literary society, it sounds so fun. Maybe I'll have to start one of my own some day :)

Whitney @ Journey Mercies said...

This is SO genius - especially since book clubs are sometimes really hard to start and keep going! I may have to try this out :)

Mary said...

Hi, I'm creating a literature society at my high school. Do you have an recommendations for things like guidelines and activities?

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