10 steps to start a reading groupMay 16, 2016

You read a book, and you loved it. But you couldn't share it with your parents. (They rather talk about the telly, but you don't want them to change.) Social media could get tiresome. (Nothing beats the real thing.) And you couldn't find a reading group (or you only did your college best). How about starting one? It seems like a daunting task, but it's not. If you want it, there's a way.

Here are ten steps:

Talk to your professors. You don't need to be intimidated by your instructors, who gave you constructive criticism on your essays. (And it took you some time to look at some comments objectively.) It would be a refreshing change to talk about something not related to the coursework. In fact, you must not have second thoughts on telling them about your plan. They wouldn't laugh at it, but time might be a problem. (You can't expect them to set aside the papers and examinations in favour of their attending the reading group.) Their presence would be invaluable, which you shouldn't doubt at all.

Invite your coursemates, if not your housemates. It may not be football, but there will be another time for it. A holiday might yield unexpected outcome. (Better not plan at all.) And they have other things to do. (You'll be bummed when you see their posts on Facebook.) Tell them, and keep on reminding them.

Social media. It's an effective tool. If you don't know it, then it's likely that you don't have a Facebook account. Snapchat? Ask your mates about it.

Post notice. The secretary (of the English Department) won't object to it. After all, it's related to the coursework. It's remote, but it's still related to it. This is a good opportunity to meet new people (and make new friends).

Don't forget your neighbourhood. You wouldn't want them to miss it, as you fancy familiar faces.

Keep on asking. Someone might know a reading group, and there's nothing wrong if you attend one. It will give you ideas, but don't worry about doing better. And never attempt to be a copycat.

Do it at the university. Your professor wouldn't object to your suggestion of doing it on a weekday. Reading Week perhaps.

Invite children. It's nice to see younger readers being interested in the classics. It's not unusual, as some authors have made Shakespeare's plays simple (and engaging) for children. But you have to exclude James Joyce from the list. Some authors of Modern literature might be too much for them.

Find a venue, and set it up. Some won't mind an informal setting, even a place like a library. But it will be better to make it fun. You're thinking about your place, where you can arrange the living room in a way that would engage them (in reading) right away. It may be too much to decorate it, but they would appreciate your effort. There's no doubt that your parents will love it.

Prepare some snacks and refreshments. It's your first time doing it, and you want it to be memorable.

Do you have other suggestions? Don't hesitate to share them with us.

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