If you’re the kind of person who buys armloads of juicy new novels, then rushes home, only to shove them on the shelf where they sit there...and sit there...and sit there...either because you’re too busy buying more books or you’re still trying to finish that fat magnificent paperback edition of Middlesex you started in 2004, this club is for you. Tiffany Sun, senior web editor at Oprah.com, was drowning in books but just couldn’t find the time, energy and/or willpower to read them. She and a close friend decided to approach reading "like dieting, where you have a buddy who keeps you on track with your eating plan, because she’s doing it too," Sun says. In their club, each member reads the books she already owns. When finished with a book, she enters the title, rating, her name and any comments she wants to make about it into a Google spreadsheet that’s shared with everyone. Here comes the part that’s not—in any way, shape or form—like dieting. Once everyone has finished three books (all of each person’s choosing), the group goes out for pizza to talk about their choices and experiences, as well as to celebrate with a sausage pie. "That reward hovering in the distance is a real motivator," Sun says. "I’m not going to lie to you. Without the pizza, I don’t think any of us would make it all the way to ‘The End,’ month after month."
What works: The Google spreadsheet keeps members connected as they read separately—and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. Sun’s group also inserts a colored bar that marks the end of every reading session and also lists the name of the pizza place they visited. (They check out a different restaurant each time.)
What doesn’t work: Members who read at different speeds. "One of our friends was able to read three books a month, while the rest of us were struggling to finish even one book in the same amount of time," Sun says. "That got discouraging pretty quickly."