My friend Margaret and I were invited to join a book club formed by some friends at church. Six months later, to our great dismay, we were politely asked to quit.

We were told we took it too seriously, that they didn’t really mean we had to read the books, just come and have fun talking together. And taking notes while we read was over-the-top, they explained. We were putting undue pressure on the rest of the group.

“But, but, but,” we sputtered, “it’s a book club!”

“Yes, well, sort of,” said the hostess, ushering us out the door with our books and notepads.

Since then, I have missed my sort-of book club. The companionship was fun, even if the books didn’t seem to get discussed. I’ve been invited into other book clubs, but I wanted to find one that focuses on Christian books. There had to be a way to start or find a group who wanted to actually read these books, but I didn’t quite know where to begin or how to find such a club.

Aha! The world wide web.

As I started to research church book clubs on the internet, I was delighted to discover that many obviously thriving churches (if you count member-size and a very up-to-date web presence) include a book club as part of the regular church events. I e-mailed and called these churches and received terrific, helpful advice about starting a successful, long-lasting book club.

What about you? Are you in a book club? If so, what tips can you share? What books do you read? How do you decide which books to read? What has worked for you and what hasn’t?

And thanks for your input. I need it! I really couldn’t handle getting kicked out of my second book club, especially if I’m the charter member.

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