How I started a book club for Asian women (and you can, too!)

Group discussion at our first book club event discussing “The Leavers”

How the Cosmos Book Club Was Born

The text that started Cosmos Book Club!
Rosa & Carolyn in conversation with Lisa Ko, June 2018
Small group discussion at one of our book club gatherings
Carolyn in conversation with Jia Tolentino, September 2019

Tips to Organize Your Own Book Club

  • Availability e.g. “Is this book out yet? Is the release date too close to the date of the gathering and will that give members enough time to read it?”
  • Price e.g. “If this is a new book, is it only available in paperback? Are there e-books online that are cheaper? What does the stock look like in the public library catalog?”
  • Representation e.g. “Does the book offer a unique POV relative to previous picks?”
  • Structure e.g. “Does the format lend itself well to group discussion?”
  • Author Availability e.g. “Does the author live close to one of the hubs and could they possibly join for book club Q&A?”
  • Define and know your values. Do you want to keep events free and accessible, or do you want to charge a fee to provide delicious food? Do you want to have facilitated discussions, or have it be a free-flowing chat initiated by anyone? There will be plenty of decisions to make as you go, so defining your values beforehand will be crucial to know what to choose.
  • Be clear about and manage expectations around food. If your event is in the evening, people may want food to be provided or know whether they can bring their own dinners. This doesn’t always mean you need a large budget for food — you could ask attendees to each bring food items, potluck style.

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Carolyn Yoo

Illustrator & writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Follow my newsletter on creativity: https://cyoo.substack.com