1. Find a handful of people who want to read the same book as you. In our case, I wanted to find people to read Half the Sky with me because I knew it would be a hard read. I sent out a note to the women on the BlogHer Contributing Editor list. I didn't actually think it would turn into a book club. It just evolved organically from four people to 11 over the course of the year.
2. Find a time to talk that works for all of your time zones. We used Doodle to schedule our first few calls, but after awhile, Mondays at 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET kept being the best time, so we've kept it.
4. Set up a freeconferencecall.com account.
5. Send out a reminder email a week, or so before your meeting with the call-in number, and 3-5 reflection questions to help guide your chat.
6. Keep your meeting times manageable. Our discussions last about 60-75 minutes.
7. Rotate who picks the book. We go in alphabetical order by first name.
- It has to be nonfiction with a "social changey" theme.
- Read a few pages/the first chapter of the book before you choose it.
- Be conscious of page count. Everyone is busy (:
- Choose books that are available as e-books, for people who prefer to read on their Kindle, iPad, etc.
10. Keep asking people if they'd like to join. Even though we have 11 people on our mailing list, we probably average 6 per discussion. It's nice to have a large list so that you always have enough people at the meeting.
Please feel free to ask questions and to add your virtual book club tips in the comments. I've also posted a list of the books we read this year to get you started:
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
- Eating Animals
- The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health- A Vision for Change
- Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
- When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
- Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer