Tough Guy Book Club is a network of men’s book clubs in local pubs.
We’re about reading books, hitting the pub with the goons, and rowdy conversations.
Our club is about putting real decent conversations back in the pub.
For too long the pokie machine, the cover band, and sports on the tv have left the men in our pubs a bunch of boring pricks with nothing to say.
It’s time to change that, let’s put heavy duty discussion back on the table at the pub.

“How the hell is reading, you know, picking up a book and learning new shit, become something that’s considered the opposite to toughness. I can assure you there is nothing tough about knowing less than the next guy. That’s why ignorance is considered a weakness”. – Shay Leighton

Here's a bunch of questions people ask a lot. (aka Frequently Asked Questions)

When and where did Tough Guy Book Club start?

We were founded in 2012 on the beer drenched steets of Collingwood, Melbourne, AUS

How do I join TGBC?

You just turn up. Read the book before hand or not, doesn’t really matter, we’re not your boss.

How do I find my local Chapter of Tough Guy Book Club?

You look on the Find Us page of this site, or you head to our Facebook page hit events:

When is the next Tough Guy Book Club?

All of our Chapter meet at 7pm on the first Wednesday of the month.

How long does a Chapter meet take?

We start at 7 and finish by around 10.

What does it cost?


I don’t read much can I come to Tough Guy Book Club?

Hell yes you can, this club was built by guys who don’t read much.

What if I don’t finish the book?

Come anyway, everyone gets busy and no one gives a damn. We are not your boss. And anyway the beer is still cold and the conversation will still be rowdy, I reckon you’ll come up with something to say.

What sort of books do you read?

We read novels because we’re a club about characters and stories. We mostly read books about men because we’re a men’s book club and so we find that kind of thing more interesting to talk about. Guys read enough nonfiction, don’t get me wrong, nonfiction is great if you want to learn about the planes of WW2 but you can learn more about people from stories. You can find our past reading list on the Books page of this site.

Do you read books by women or books with women as lead characters?

Of course, be pretty stupid to cut out over half the books ever written. Saying that but, we do read a lot of old dead white guys because a lot of them are interesting to talk about for us.

What book are you reading this month?

All Chapters read the same book and you can find that on the Books page of this site.

What if I don’t like some of the books you read?

Good, you shouldn’t like every book we read. That would be weird. You're going to hate some of them I guarantee it, because we don’t read books because they are good, or that they are well written, or they have a beautifully crafted yet understated metaphor told though the intentional use of Jungian archetypes which draws sharp focus to playful and lyrical prose, nah we read them because they are interesting to talk about over a beer.

How do I suggest a book?

Our book club doesn’t work like that.

What if I hate all the books you’ve read.

You should probably find a different club. Tough Guy Book Club is not for everyone, and we're not changing.

Why is it called Tough Guy Book Club?

It’s either; A. Because people find it weird that the words Tough and Book are together, B. It’s pretty funny name for a thing, C. If you ask ten guys what tough is they’ll give you ten different answers but they’ll all know they’re expected to be it, which seems strange. D. Because if we called it the Inner-city Nice Guys Book Society then none of us would want to go, sounds like a wanker fest.

Is your club men only?

Yes, we’re a men’s book club. But let’s be very clear about this, we’re not in any way anti-women, tough or otherwise. We just think that men having a chance to read more and talk more about stuff is a good idea and making a space designed for that is a good way to go about it which doesn’t take anything from anyone.

I’m not a tough man, or a tall man, or a drinking man, or a traditional man, or a bearded man, or a straight man, or a cis man, or a iron man, can I come?

Yeah of course, we not the judges of who’s a man or not, there's enough of that shit in the world already. If you’re a man, then you can come to Tough Guy Book Club.

I’m only 16 can I join Tough Guy Book Club?

Sorry lad, we meet in pubs and in the eyes of liquor licencing in this country you are not a man until 18. We'll see you in 2 years.

How do I join Tough Guy Book Club and change the bits I don't like?

You don't. Use Google to find a different book club and move on.

I don’t drink beer can I come?

Yes, our club has allowed wine drinkers and the like for many years now.

I don’t drink alcohol at all can I come?

Yeah we're not into force feeding people because that's fucking weird. Honestly don’t give a shit about what you drink, takes all sorts.

Can I bring my kids to TGBC?

Nah, this is a chance for our guys to get away from their responsibilities for the night, let’s leave the kids at home.

Does this club have rules that I need to know before I turn up?

Yeah, we have a lot of them which you’ll pick up when you start attending but there are 2 you should have a passing familiarity with before you come. 1 No Work talk. We don’t talk about work at our club because you are more than just your job, guys constantly ask each other “what do you do” as an introduction, and it’s a pretty shit introduction because it really it doesn’t tell us much about a person, it just limits the conversation to surface level shit. We want to do better than that. In every other boring conversation for the rest of your life you can talk about your day job but not at Tough Guy Book Club. 2. Our “100% Don’t be a fuckhead rule”. This one is hopefully pretty self-explanatory; it essentially means that if you are some kind of fuckhead then you are not welcome at our club.

How do I follow Tough Guy Book Club to hear more about it?

You can follow us on facebook or Insta or you can join out mailing list here,

I emailed you a week ago why haven’t I hear back yet?

We’re run by volunteers in their spare time so things can move a little slow around here, someone will get to it. Also, you can probably find your answer on this page.

I’m an author and I’d like you to read my book, should I join?

We’ve got a bunch of authors in our club already and they have a good time so I would suggest you do but if you are joining to promote your book or to try to have us read it as a club then I wouldn’t. We hate that. We know promoting your book is hard to do and we really do feel for you but we don’t do that. If you want someone at our club to read your book and get the word out then the best we can do is give it as a prize for the monthly TGBC Monthly Challenge, that way we’ll post about it.

What’s the TGBC Monthly Challenge?

The TGBC Monthly Challenge is a monthly task we dare our goons to do. Some of them are fun some of them are hard. If you do the months challenge, then your name goes in the hat to win some books and merch. If you do all of them in a year you get the year TGBC Challenge Coin.

Are you a business or a charity?

We’re a Not-For-Profit Registered Charity run by volunteers that works to encouraging reading, building comradery, fighting isolation, improving mental health, and the increase of pub arguments about books.


What Is Tough Guy Book Club?

-Dane Botfield 1980-2017, Portland Chapter

The Tough Guy Book Club is a modern meeting place for guys of all walks of life to get together and discuss not just the work of literary greats, but any and all of the issues that men tackle on a daily basis. It’s where guys can engage in bare knuckled conversation about the manly classics of contemporary literature.

Once a month we get together to sink a couple of brews and discuss the themes and topics that arise from the previous month’s reading . A great chance to share your thoughts, meet some excellent lads and foster a community of reading and good ol fashioned chat.

The camaraderie from monthly club meetups helps foster an environment where a wide range of topics can be discussed. Including the examination and appreciation of some of the best examples of the printed word. This is the pool hall at the end of the alley but with Hemingway.

The Club was started by a couple of guys just like you. Guys who wanted to read more and connect a bit more with their community. Guys with something to say and not always the place to say it. We have chapters all over Australia where we first started, and have begun our invasion of the USA, the UK, and NZ. The next Chapter opens where ever you are, that’s how we do this, you just tell us where you are and we’ll come make it happen.

Tough Guy Book Club is a chance to talk about anything but your work – It’s a chance to be yourself instead of your job. To read choice books by great authors on a wide array of subjects. To read books you wouldn’t otherwise. To talk with your peers, and participate in lively discourse. To meet cool people, to get out of your comfort zone.

Here is that chance to read more.

Tough Guy book club, good for the soul of the warrior poet, the 9 to 5 warrior, and every kind of betting man in between!