June 26, 2022

Are you a man who is interested in book clubs? Here are the rules for starting your own

Nick Arvin:

Maybe you are a guy. And maybe you’re a guy who loves books. Maybe you even like talking about books with people. Maybe you’re a guy who could be described as a curious book club?

But maybe even though you’re a fairly enlightened guy, you’re still a dude guy. And all the book clubs you know of seem to be by and for women. And you wonder, can you have a men’s book club?

Yes. It’s easy. First rule, don’t call your book club a book club. You’re enlightened, but some guys might be a little suspicious. Make it easy for them by naming your club that reads books something that shows it’s for badass. Call your club, for example, the Literary Domination Society.

Rule two, take turns choosing books. Each person gets their turn. Choose mostly novels because it’s easy to have opinions and argue, much like quarterbacks.

Rule three, you can only choose books that no one in the club has read before. Thus, you all dive together into the unknown, adventurers of a new land.

Rule four, everyone must read the book. If someone fails to read the book, it’s okay to mock them mercilessly. Is it or is it not a Literary Domination Society?

Rule five, after discussing the book, everyone rates the book on a scale of 1 to 10. This forces everyone to form an opinion, which you can then discuss, which is fun. Think mixed martial arts, but less painful.

Rule six, keep records. Track not only how each book is rated, but also each person’s ability to choose books. This makes it competitive. It’s like fantasy football, but books.

Last rule, keep it up, meeting every month or two. Keep meeting for years and years. Have amazing conversations. Share things you’ve never shared with anyone else.

If you’re lucky, you’ll make some of the greatest friends of your life, friends who can speak to the nature of faith in Elena Ferrante’s novels, and who will also somehow become friends who can help you keep your grip on sanity when you’re going through an unexpected divorce, when you’re dealing with the crippling anxiety of unemployment, or when you find yourself in the terrible crush of depression.

At least that’s what happened to me in my book club – I mean, Literary Domination Society, where, by the way, I’m the best at choosing books. And I have the data to prove it.