This option is so obvious, you just might just overlook it. Many bookstores organize their own book clubs. "Now that everything everywhere happens over the Internet all the time," says Zach Zook, an coordinator for the small indie shop BookCourt in Brooklyn, "we’re seeing a real desire from customers for face-to face interactions." Sure, they come for the joy of talking about The Tiger’s Wife with strangers who in most cases have read the book (they’re not coming for the old friends and intricate hot appetizers), but they also like the honest reactions (nobody has to be very, very careful how she talks about, say, the lead character who cheats on her husband). Another perk? The flexibility. "You can come once, then not come again for four months," says Anne Cory-Watson, coordinator of BookCourt’s club. "Not to mention, we’re completely inclusive. Anybody can come. You don’t have to be insanely smart or well read. We’ll take anybody—and we have the room for them."
What works: Buying your book for the following meeting as soon as the current one ends, eliminating the errand of obtaining the next title and being relaxed about the summer when the group shrivels. ("They come back in the fall," Cory-Watson says. "Promise.")
What doesn’t work: Because of the luscious selection of new releases piled on nearby tables and shelves, you’ll be tempted to buy only recently published titles. But Cory-Watson’s group finds that many of the new books just weren’t strong enough to generate discussion. Now they read a mixture of recent and time-tested titles.