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Guide to Iowa City Area Book Clubs: Join One or Start Your Own!

 As the third worldwide UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa City is a wonderful place to live for fellow bibliophiles like myself. This literary city provides many outlets for residents to explore creative writing and reading, through classes, events, festivals, and a large network of libraries and book stores.

I love discussing books with other readers because I get introduced to books I never would have discovered otherwise and interpretations that are different than my own. I’ve found that being in such a literary city means I have the opportunity to attend so many book clubs that are open to the public, allowing me to support my local libraries and small businesses that host events.

Below is a guide to book clubs throughout the Corridor, as well as tips for starting your own book club with a few friends. The book clubs listed are open to all ages and demographics and are not just groups for moms. They provide something for everyone, ranging from classics to mysteries.


Join A Local Book Club

Meetup.com

Corridor Book Club

This club meets the third Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Join the Meetup group here.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 20 at Java Creek Café, discussing The Shepard’s Life by James Rebanks

Iowa City Public Library

BYO Book Club

This club meets irregularly, but typically about once a month. It is hosted in venues around Iowa City. The library is currently working on locations for the next few months and will update the calendar as they become available.

Next Scheduled Meeting: TO BE DETERMINED

Spanish Book Club

This club meets the last Friday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The club takes some months off.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 24 in Meeting Room B, discussing Los vigilantes by Diamela Eltit

Prairie Lights, Iowa City

Paul’s Book Club

The date varies but it is always at 7:00 p.m. and meets at the bookstore or at the Iowa City Public Library. Paul usually announces the next month’s book during the book club, and information is also available in the newsletter and on the website once it becomes available. 

Next Scheduled Meeting: TO BE DETERMINED

Coralville Public Library

It’s a Mystery! Book Group

This club meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in Meeting Room B.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 8, discussing Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Novel Conversations

This club meets the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Library Board Room.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 16, discussing 1984 by George Orwell

Barnes and Noble, Coralville

Graphic Novel Discussion Group

This club meets the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the café.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 9, book TO BE DETERMINED

Manga Discussion Group

This club meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the café.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 23, book TO BE DETERMINED

Coffee and Crime Book Group

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the café.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21, discussing Who Let the Dog Out by David Rosenfelt

North Liberty Community Library

Last Tuesday of the Month Book Club

This club meets the last Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. except for July, August, and December.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 28, discussing Wild by Cheryl Strayed

BYOB–Bring Your Own Book

This club meets the last Friday of each month at local restaurants around town.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 31 at 6:00 p.m. at Beer Burger, discussing Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Solon Public Library

Solon Area Book Club

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. from September through June.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21, discussing Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End by Atul Gawande and Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim

West Branch Public Library

Book Club

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21, discussing Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Kalona Public Library

Last Tuesday Book Club

This club meets the last Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. except for summers and December. There is a daytime meeting the following day at 12:30 p.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 28 and 29, discussing Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Cedar Rapids Public Library

Book Lover’s Club

This club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Ladd Library.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 14, discussing Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Women’s Studies Reading Group

This club meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown library in the conference room. This club is for “fiction and non-fiction books by, for, and about women.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 2, discussing Bottomland by Michelle Hoover, which is also the All Iowa Reads book for 2017

Marion Public Library

Coffeehouse Fiction

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month, September through May, at 3:30 p.m. at Wit’s End Coffeehouse. The library purchases snacks and beverages available for purchase.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21, discussing Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulous

Food for Thought Book Club 

This club meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, March through October, at 12:00 p.m. The club doesn’t discuss specific books, but instead focuses on topics like historical fiction and humor.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 28, discussing My Best Books of 2016

Classics Club

This club isn’t a monthly group and has met once previously. Check back on the website about further events.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B, discussing Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Hiawatha Public Library

While Others Sleep Mystery Book Club

This club meets the first Thursday of each month at 2:00 p.m. The club picks a specific mystery author to discuss.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 2, discussing author Ed Gorman

Wellman-Scofield Public Library

Book Club

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. This club doesn’t focus around a specific book but is instead a discussion group for members to talk about what they have been reading.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21

Oxford Public Library

Oxford Book Club

This club meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. The club will cover different genres at each meeting.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 21, discussing The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

West Liberty Public Library

Morning Coffee Book Club

This club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 14, discussing On Maggie’s Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin

Evening Book Club

This club meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Next Scheduled Meeting: March 2, discussing Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook


How to Start Your Own Book Club

Inspired to start your own book club with a group of friends instead? Here are some tips to get your group started.

Selection Inspiration

Start with a Book Club Kit

The Iowa City Public Library, Cedar Rapids Public Library, and Marion Public Library offer book club kits that can be checked out. Kits include multiple copies of the same book. The kits from the Iowa City Public Library also include discussion information. The Swisher Community Library has a Book of the Month, which is a featured book that has multiple copies available at the library.

Start with a Featured Title

This year’s All Iowa Reads title is Bottomland by Michelle Hoover. All Iowa Reads is a project from Iowa Center for the Book with the purpose of getting all Iowans to read and discuss the same title.

Follow Along with an Online Book Club or Follow a Reading List/Challenge

Some ideas include Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf , Oprah’s Book Club , Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime , Goodreads Popular Book Club Picks , and PopSugar’s 2017 Reading Challenge.

Choose a Book that will be a Movie

The club can read a book that will be made into a movie , and then have a second outing to go see the movie. This keeps people involved that would rather see a movie over read, and vice-versa.

Let the Club Vote on Titles

Let people within the group suggest the books, either through rotating who picks or by a vote.

Setting Up the Club/Ground Rules

Keeping it Fun

Incorporate food and drinks and allow for pre-discussion hangout time.

Keep the invite open to people that didn’t have a chance to finish the book because they’ll still have something to bring to the conversation.

Be prepared with discussion questions to keep the conversation flowing if needed.

Happy reading! Be sure to share if you joined a book club or started your own!

 

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One Response to Guide to Iowa City Area Book Clubs: Join One or Start Your Own!

  1. Bond Drager February 23, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    The ICPL/Junot Diaz night is wrong – that’s an old event from 2016…

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