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Proposed charter for the New Christchurch Book Club

August 18, 2013

A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. Groucho Marx

The following is an attempt to codify the rules for a new bookclub which will continue the legacy of the much-loved Popular Penguin Bookclub which lost its way after most of the members left Christchurch.

Expressions of interest, suggestions for amendment of the rules, and any other comments are welcome. These rules are not intended to be unchanging and perfect, and may be amended at any time.


Book club is a way for people who like books to get together and be social, while also learning something about literature and life through being gently obliged to form opinions and consider and debate the opinions of others.

General principles

1. Book club is about books and what we think of them.
2. Book club is a place of love even when strong opinions come into conflict with each other.
3. Book club is complemented by fine food, beverages, and other treats.


4. Anyone can join or attend book club.
5. Reading the assigned book is strongly encouraged, but those who ask forgiveness may still attend even if they did not complete the book.
6. Meetings will be in Christchurch but members outside Christchurch may be able to participate on a limited basis via the magic of technology.

Scheduling and hosting

7. Book club will meet approximately once a month.
8. At the end of each meeting the date and host of the next book club will be decided by agreement among the members present.
9. Later objections to the chosen time by members who were not present will be considered if possible.

Book selection

10. Any era, genre, or length of book may be considered as a potential book club selection. Cheap series such as the Popular Penguins or Wordsworth Editions are a good source of candidates.
11. The ideal book will be easily available, cheap, of a reasonable length, and not previously read by any member.
12. The book to be read will be selected at the end of each meeting by those present and once fixed will not be altered. The club will aim to read a variety of books to expand our literary minds in every direction.

Meeting conduct

13. Meetings will begin with a “first impressions” section in which each member talks briefly about what they thought of the book. There should be no discussion or interjection during this section of the meeting unless absolutely necessary.
14. A free discussion will follow in which anything goes. Everyone should be given ample opportunity to talk and share their thoughts. No hating or being a jerk. Voting for favourite characters, reading selections aloud, off-topic digressions, and the use of subcultural desituationism to challenge outmoded perceptions of sexual identity are all encouraged.
15. Once discussion has reached a natural close, if all members agree then the final thoughts will begin. As with the first impressions, each member is given a brief, uninterrupted space to give their final summation. This summation must include a mark out of ten, no half marks allowed.
16. Once final thoughts have concluded, discusion and consumption may continue until everyone goes home or the host says the party is over.

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