Ladies, Coffee and a Great Book: How to Host a Book Study

First Steps

Recently I read a book that I loved.  I was longing to have a great conversation with someone…anyone…about that book.  Have you ever read a book and just wanted to have a good ole’ talk?

So I just stepped out and sent some texts.   In that very moment I sent out several texts to ladies, of all ages, to see if anyone would be interested in jumping aboard a book study. That is literally all the thought I gave to the entire process.  I wanted to meet so I invited some folks.

It needs to be said that in all these years of teaching doing a book study is not something I am accustomed to doing.  I have taught classes from books, but that is very different.  Somehow this felt risky to try something new for the first time. Getting people together to talk about a book seemed a bit out of my comfort zone. But I was feeling a little brave so I jumped.

I had to figure out what to do next.  I started getting rapid responses from several women who were interested.   I had to be honest with myself as to wether I was willing to do more than one group or not.  I was ok with it. 

Ladies, Coffee and  a Great Book: How to Host a Book Study

Two different groups formed from those texts. 

I started with a book and looked for a group.  Often times a group forms and then you pick a book.  

One group of young women who wanted to meet in the daytime for an hour.  Because it is harder for me to get away during the day I decided we could just meet at our house.  We chose to do 2 chapters of the book each week.  

A second group was made up of women my age and older who wanted to meet just a few times and cover 5 chapters at a time.  But because we were going to meet less they were willing to stay longer each time.  We chose a local coffee shop in the evening for the meeting place. 

Surprisingly this was very easy in both settings.  I was worried about how the conversation would flow but the women all came ready to talk.  Even at the coffee shop they were so ready to share.

A once a month book club is also a wonderful gathering option.  My mom’s book club reads one book each month and gathers to talk about it.  They swap houses each month and the hostess chooses the book and announces it at the meeting the month before.

Ladies, Coffee and a Great Book: How to Host a Book Study

How To Prepare

Make notes as you read.  I don’t mind writing in the books but it could be done on sticky notes as well.   If the author asked an interesting question I made a note to discuss it.  And if the content was really interesting I came up with a question to go with the book or I highlighted the quote to read and ask the the group their thoughts.  

You could look for a book with questions. Usually these questions are either at the end of the chapter or at the very end of the book.  Sometimes, with authors like Stasi and John Eldredge, they have discussion questions on their website to help.  So it would be a good idea to check the internet under the name of the book or the author to see if their happens to be a website with resources for the book you are interested in using.  

Ideas for Leading

You could invite the group to come with a question they would like to ask the group. 
Each person can share part a of the book that really stood out to them and why. 
If you are going to meet several times on one book each person take a week to be in charge.
Bring a hat full of questions and let each person ask the group a question…go as long as your time permits.

Ladies, Coffee and a Great Book: How to Host a Book Study

A Variety of Options 

Don’t box yourself into a certain format.  You could change it up each time if you have a flexible group.  Feel free to get as creative as you would like.

Plan a meal to go with your subject matter.  
Have a potluck that goes with the theme.
Just focus on one aspect of the book like the characters.
You could pick a book that also has a great movie and host a movie night.
Bring a folding chair and host the gathering in a quiet park.

Book Ideas

Choosing a book is the SUPER fun part for me.  Make sure it is one you love.  Look for one that causes you to stop and consider.  There are non-fiction and fiction books that will work. In the list below I am sharing with you books that I love that would make wonderful book studies.  All of these are books I have read!  

Non-fiction books

Remember God by Annie F. Downs
Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk (this one has a workbook you could use too)
Captivating by Stasi Eldredge
Walking With God by John Elderdge

Fiction Options:

The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Shack by William Paul Young

Let us hear from you.  What worked for you?  Did you try something new and out of the box?  Share in the comments below so that we can all learn from your ideas! 

Tag us @gatheringaround in your social media so that we can see you and your groups! We may periodically bless some of the book groups with a surprise! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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