How to set up a Book Group when you are travelling

Book Group in Guanaja

I have wanted to join a book group for a while, but it is quite difficult to join one if you travel a lot. Each month I seem to be in a different country, so it is nigh on impossible. I would relish the chance to discuss books, be introduced to new authors and just to belong to something while enjoying my nomadic lifestyle.

So if it is difficult for me to join a book group, why not set up one?

This year I knew I was going to be back on the island of Guanaja in Honduras for three months. An ideal opportunity to set up a book group on the island for book reading friends. I tentatively sent out a Facebook message to see what response I would get. It was an overwhelming yes!!!

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However, with no bookshop on the island, all books chosen have to be on the Kindle and be reasonably priced for the American, Swiss and British readers who make up the group. I chose the first book – The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft – a book I had bought but hadn’t got round to reading. It is a psychological thriller with many twists and turns.

The Guanaja Ladies Book Group Inaugural Meeting

The Book Gods seemed to be against us having our first meeting. The first time we tried to meet, there was no electricity. I know you don’t need to need to have electricity to host a book group, but as Guanaja is a small island with only one road, we travel everywhere by boat and they were stuck up in their cradles!

We re-arranged to meet on Friday 17 August, and again the Book gods thwarted us with a deluge of rain. No-one was venturing out in rough seas!

Finally, on Monday 20 August, everything was in our favour and we held our inaugural meeting! Four of us sat down to discuss The Guilty Wife over chips, dips, cream cheese, fabulous mutton pepper jelly and falafel washed down with wine or water.

The Guanaja Ladies Book Group

I had a list of potential questions just in case we ran out of things to say, but it turned out to be quite the opposite with the conversation flowing very easily. The reaction to the book was very favourable and we felt it was true to life and enjoyed the build-up and suspense.

No-one guessed the final twist though two of us had an inkling that we dismissed. It is difficult to review without giving anything away, you will just have to read the book! We did want to know if there will be a sequel to this excellent first novel by Elle Croft*, to see what happens next for the main characters involved. We are already selecting our next book for our meeting in September and although I am only here for another two meetings, I do hope that the Guanaja Ladies Book Group continues after I have left the island. *The Other Sister by Elle Croft, Elle’s second novel is due out today, 24 August.

Setting up a Book Group

What you need to set up a book group is enthusiastic book readers, some tenacity and a place to hold it.

I was lucky in Guanaja as I already knew people who I thought would be interested. If I was setting one up again, I would look put out a message on local Facebook groups and decide on an initial book.

Final Thoughts

Setting up the book group was fun and not as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be. I am also considering setting up an online Book Group to run while I travel with a monthly book and maybe a Facebook chat. Let me know if you are interested.

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