How to pick a good book club book

Let me start off by saying that by writing this post, I am in no way claiming that my way is the only way to make the oh-so-important book club pick – or even that my way is particularly consistent. I’m sure that everyone has their own methods/madness and whether you meticulously create pro/con lists for months or just walk into Chapters and pick up the first thing that catches your eye, the result will be largely the same – we’re reading your book!

Of course, the real goal for most book-clubbers is for the other members to both complete reading and enjoy their book. As someone who has experience picking a horrible book as well as the well rated (if scarcely read) Half Blood Blues, Erin Hopkin suggested I was well-suited to write this post. Personally, I have a pretty short list of Dos and Don’ts:



  • Pick something you find interesting. This is your chance to have everyone read something that appeals to you, and in the UBC it won’t come around again for a year or more. Have you been dying to read something? Curious about the discussion a book will inspire? Go for it!


  • Pick your favourite book of all time. Reading for book club is a critical exercise as opposed to reading on your own which is more emotional (for me). This is like asking your friends to love your significant other as much as/the same way you do – awkward for everyone and not a realistic expectation.
  • Take the discussion personally. Someone (or everyone) may completely despise your pick. Guess what – you didn’t write it! Some of the best discussions have come out of books that the group didn’t especially like.


Pretty simple, right? In my view, there are also several categories you can fall into as a picker – you probably even belong to more than one because some are related to how you pick whereas others are related to how you announce.

The Last Minute Picker

This person forgot it was their turn, ran out of time, or switched their month to pick. There’s no time for anything but a quick Chapters run (or potentially just a Google search).

The Researcher

This person has been keeping a list of potential picks since last time their turn came around. They weigh the pros and cons, read reviews, scan the long and short lists for various awards, and make an informed decision based on their extensive research.

An alternative form of The Researcher is those who pre-read the book.

The Opinion Seeker

This person wants to know what everyone thinks of their potential picks. They ask for recommendations from friends and family or even the book store employees. More than most, they want to have an accurate idea of who may like the book and who may not and make their decision that way.

The Democracy

This picker shows up with two or more books and allows everyone to read synopses and the dust jacket. Ultimately, the choice gets put to a vote after discussion among the group.

The Dictator

This picker comes with their mind made up. They’ve chosen this month’s book (as is their right) and everyone can spend the extra time getting more food.

I’m The Researcher/Dictator, personally. I’ve seen many tactics over the months in UBC, and different things work for different people. Ultimately, there is no way to guarantee results so I’m a strong advocate for just being true to what you want!

Do you agree with my Do’s and Don’ts? Which category/ies of picker do you fall into?

Tweet at me (@echezick or @unputdownablebc) or get busy in the comments/poll! I want to hear from you!


About Erin Chezick

Experienced Information Coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Strong education professional working towards a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Management and Change from Carleton University.
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3 Responses to How to pick a good book club book

  1. Erin Hopkin says:

    I chose a book that i had already read, so i knew it probably wasn’t going to be a complete disaster and that there was lots to discuss.


  2. Pingback: October Book Review – The God of Small Things | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

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