Writer Lise Funderburg
Photo: Marcus Nilsson
My book club has one overarching principle: Thou Shalt Not Stress. Here's how we do it, thanks to guidance from our founder and veteran book-clubber, Tamala Edwards Lugrine.
 1. Meet on a reasonable schedule that allows ample time to finish the book—in our case, every other month.

2. Make new friends. Invite people who don't know each other, and have more than one person do the inviting.

3. Discuss parameters, so members know what to expect: Fiction? Current events? Classics?

4. Spread the work and the power by rotating hosting duties and letting the host pick the book.

5. Cook and clean only as much as you like. One presentable bathroom and basic munchies will do.

6. Keep meetings to three hours—it's a club, not an endurance test.

7. Send kids and spouses out for the afternoon.

8. Read on paper, but communicate electronically: Set up a group e-mail list, forward directions using Mapquest, and send out reminders a couple of days beforehand.

9. Overbook for a consistent turnout. If you want six at every meeting, have 10 on your list.

10. Talk about the book—not exclusively, especially if the book's a dud, but hold the group to its purpose.

Lise Funderburg is the author of Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home.

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