Hold a Reading Lunch

A Reading Lunch is a fun way to find some sociable reading time during your normal day. As part of Book Week Scotland 2018, we invite you to join us for a Reading Lunch on Thursday 22 November 2018 – wherever you are!

You can take part however you like. All you need to do is invite friends, colleagues or your pets to join you, with a book, to read for an hour over lunch. 

If you're in need of inispiration take a look at some of the ideas below, from the very straightforward to the slightly more challenging, with some great fundraising ideas too.

Everyone in your group or workplace agrees to read the same book or story by the day of the lunch – it is a good idea to look for a short book as this feels more achievable.


Lunchtime Book Group

Gather at lunch time to eat together and discuss what you have read. It's sometimes useful to put a bit of structure into the discussion just to get things going. For example you might ask everyone to come with:

  • Their favourite bit
  • Their least favourite character
  • One question about what they have read
  • A decision about whether they would give the book a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down".

Your local library will probably have a list of books they have in Reading Group sets and you will be able to sign up to borrow a whole set. There are also lists of reading group discussion topics and questions online, along with author interviews and reviews.

It might be useful to have one or two people who are happy to act as hosts and get the discussion going


Group Readalong

If you're confident about reading aloud, this might work well for you! 

This idea is very similar to a book group, but rather than all reading the same book before the lunch, here you read something much shorter (a short story for example) together during the lunch.

This works best if you have someone in your group who is confident about reading aloud and is willing to read the story to everyone else. If you have a number of people who would like to read, you can swap as you go – but make it clear that no-one is expected to read aloud if they don’t want to.

Take pauses during reading to discuss what you have read so far and where you think the story is going.

If you do decide to fundraise during your Reading Lunch, we’d be thrilled if you would consider donating the proceeds to Scottish Book Trust. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals and organisations to fund many of our programmes.

By having a book sale or auction, you can help to transform lives through the power of books. All of the money you raise will go towards our much needed reading and writing programmes.

To help you get started, you can sign up for a free fundraising pack


Book Swap

Pick a date and time, and encourage everyone taking part to bring in books they are happy to swap. Find a space and set up a table to lay the books out on - it's a nice idea to get people to write a wee blurb for each of the books they bring to give away. Encourage everyone to browse the swap table and pick books they would like.

If you end up with leftover books, a local charity shop would love to receive them.


Book Sale

This is a great thing to do if you would like to add a fundraising element to your Reading Lunch.

In the run up to the event, encourage people to bring in books they are happy to sell. On the day you'll need some volunteers to run the book stall and a float to allow you to offer change to your customers. Set a price – maybe £1 for paperbacks and £2 for hardbacks – and consider doing multiple purchase deals, such as 5 books for £3. 

This can work well in a communal space like a staffroom or canteen at your work – see if you can set up your bookstall where people can visit it over their lunch break. 


Book Auction

For this you will need someone to act as the auctioneer (the gavel's optional!). Ask everybody who is prepared sell a book at the auction to bring in at least one. During the auction, each person will stand up and “sell” their own book – give a little bit of information on what it was about, why it is a good read, “you’ll like this if you enjoyed that” before allowing other people to bid for the book. Start your bids low to encourage people to participate.


Themed Lunch

Pick a book and a day and ask everyone taking part to bring in a themed lunch item! You could pick single a books/series – there are loads of lunch possibilities from the Harry Potter or Game of Thrones books! - or you could pick a genre – romance, historical, crime.

Have a prize for the lunch which best interprets the theme – and a prize for weirdest/most creative. We've put together lots of book-related food ideas on Pinterest.


Pot Luck Lunch

Hold a pot luck lunch – ask everyone to bring one dish and one book. During lunch people can pick what they'd like to eat as well as what they'd like to read.

As a twist, you could ask that all of the books are wrapped in brown paper, with a brief description on the front that doesn't give away the title or the author (or any other distinguishing characteristic) – this makes for a genuinely pot luck read!


Secret Book Fairy

This works a bit like Secret Santa. Find out who wants to take part and give each person another participant to give a book and a lunch to. To make it easier for everyone to participate, you might want to set a maximum budget for the lunch and suggest books should be second hand. 

On the day, everyone anonymously gifts the book and lunch to the recipient - eat together and share what you've been given.