Have you started a book club only to see it fall prey to the slow fade? Gathering your bibliophile friends every month can be a challenge, which is why we checked in with book club expert Julie Goler. A professional moderator of monthly book discussions in Los Angeles, Goler is the real deal. (Her longest-running group has been meeting for 18 consecutive years.) Here are her seven most important tips for organizing a book club that has serious staying power.
For ELLE's thirtieth anniversary, we're serving up weekly life hacks from 12 expert coaches. Our second expert of the year is Julie Goler, a book club expert who curates monthly, 75-minute salons on titles carefully selected to promote both an emotional journey and intellectual conversation. (Some of her groups—which include celebrities, Hollywood execs, and stay-at-home moms alike—have been meeting for over a decade!) All this month on ELLE.com, Goler will give you the expert tools necessary to start a can't-miss meeting of your own.
The Book-Club Leader
Bookworm Julie Goler never imagined she could get paid to read novels and talk about them over a glass of wine. A Beverly Hills High School English teacher, she moonlights as a book-club facilitator (juliesbookgroups.com). If it seems unclear why such a person, at $450 a pop, is needed for a group of friends discussing the astrological components of The Luminaries, just imagine all the clubs that devolve into chatter about kids and office gossip. "I make sure everyone's involved and engaged," says Goler, who suggests books, preps questions, reads up on writer bios and arranges author visits.
Has your book group bogged down in the complexities of A Thousand Splendid Suns? Are you missing the references in The Jane Austen Book Club? Is the plot of Orhan Pamuk's Snow eluding you? If you live in Los Angeles, help is at hand.
Call Julie Goler, professional book-club facilitator. That's right; she gets paid to lead groups of women in productive discussion of the books they read for pleasure.
"I was a voracious reader as a kid and during the time I was at Duke," says Goler, who was an English major. After Duke, Goler earned her master's at Columbia University and then taught English at Stuyvesant High School in New York. "I think I missed Frank McCourt, one of my favorite teaching authors, by a year or two," she says.If you live in Los Angeles, help is at hand.