If you're a book lover like me, no task is dreamier than wandering round book stores and thumbing through new releases and pondering over which publications are most worth your time. Running a book club is a perfect excuse to do exactly that a few times a month, as well as scrolling through online pages of new and old releases alike.
So, how do I choose three books for each monthly book club? And how do I make sure they all fit under the same theme?
Firstly, I think about what's happening in the month I'm planning for - October = Halloween, for example - and what mood suits the season. It's unlikely that anyone will want to read something set on a blazing hot beach just when the memories of summer are finally fading, and temperatures have committed to dropping.
Once I have an idea of the theme, I keep an eye on regular newsletters from my favourite book suppliers, and the social media accounts of my favourite book bloggers. It's good to know what's popular, hotly anticipated, and well-rated.
Next, I indulge in a browsing session in a book store and see which titles and covers are vying for my attention. I have to credit book shop marketing for helping me to link my ideas together, and I'm grateful for the knowledgable staff who are willing to help me out. In some respects, I'm quite old fashioned - I like to handwrite rather than type things - and I find it easier to hold ideas in my mind when I can collate a range of books in front of me. So when I find a novel that will work as one of my choices, it helps me to carry it around while I explore.
If I'm lucky, I'll find two (or all three if it's a very lucky day!) of my book choices in the same shop, and head home with an idea of what further research I need to do or what other book I need to source elsewhere.
Overall, I use the same tips I advise students to use when looking for a book they might enjoy - find recommendations based on other things you've enjoyed reading; look for novels from a genre you know you like; look at the book cover and read the blurb to see if they appeal to you; and read the first page/a random page from the book and decide if you like the writing style.
Next week the November book choices will be announced - hopefully you'll like what I've picked!