Do you belong to a book club or some group where you can discuss books? Finding the right club to join is often bit of a process since they can run the range from extremely laid back to highly intellectual. I think it’s worth the search, however, because discussing a book with others can lend a whole new perspective that you otherwise would have missed. My book club falls somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and – while we always have fun – we definately have the best discussions when we disagree on whether we enjoyed the book!
One comment we often hear at the Reader Services desk is that choosing a book and finding discussion questions are the biggest challenges for a book group leader. We want to remind you that the Library has many resources to make this a lot easier. In the New Books area we have a cart of “Resources for Readers and Book Groups” that has print materials to look at, and there are tips and recommended titles on our web site under “Discuss Books” including a links to sites such as ReadingGroupGuides.com. Readers will also enjoy Book Group Buzz from Booklist – a highly readable blog about books and book discussions.
The Library also sponsors two book discussions which anyone is welcome to attend. They meet the second Tuesday of each month – at 10:00am and 7:00pm. A list of upcoming books they are discussing is online. A recent title that they enjoyed is The Florist’s Daughter by Patricia Hample, a very honest portrayal of the relationship between a daughter and mother that generated great discussion about what makes us who we are (i.e. the town where we grew up, attitudes towards education and beauty, etc.). The author is a poet, so the writing is wonderful too. Some of the titles that have elicited the most “extreme” reactions are books about contemporary dysfunctional families, such as On Beauty by Zadie Smith or Saturday by Ian McEwan. The group realized anew how the author’s tone can make a pivotal difference in enjoying the work.
If you’re not in a book group, I encourage you to ask around and see if there’s one you can join – or start one of your own!
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