Q&A with Cindy Hudson discussion

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What Makes a Book Good for Mother-Daughter Book Clubs

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
People often ask me what I look for in a mother-daughter book club book. They're surprised to find out that liking a book isn't high on the list (although it is a nice bonus).

Everyone has different tastes in what they like to read, and it's pretty rare that a group of people will all like the same book. So what are some of the criteria I use to recommend a book for book clubs?

1. Well written. A book with nicely developed characters and strong plot line can carry a reader's interest even when they don't like the details of the story.

2. Issues to discuss. Friendship, the relationship between a main character and one or more of her parents, kids taking risks, moral and ethical issues all have the potential to provide great discussions in a group.

3. Yes issues...but no preaching. It's easy for kids to know that they're being led to believe something is good or bad for them. If the characters speak for themselves without preaching to readers, kids can come to their own conclusions about consequences of behavior.

4. Funny. Humor is a plus, as girls read a lot of very serious, very dark books in school. Sometimes it's fun to lighten up.

5. Layers. This is particularly an issue in middle-grade novels, where adults will get things in the book that kids don't see yet.


message 2: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
There are so many great books for mother-daughter book clubs. I'll post a few times with lists of some of my favorites. Here's the first one.

Ten Great Mother-Daughter Book Club Books Released in 2010

The Healing Spell—Kimberly Griffiths Little
Will Grayson, Will Grayson—John Green and David Levithan
This is Me from Now On—Barbara Dee
Tortilla Sun—Jennifer Cervantes
The Red Umbrella—Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Betti on the Highwire—Lisa Railsback
The Julian Game—Adele Griffin
The Cardturner—Louis Sachar
Doodlebug—Karen Romano Young
Blue Plate Special—Michelle D. Kwasney


message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
What happens in a book club of any type when the members have very different reading tastes? It's good to think about your own feeling before you join a book group. Are you flexible on the kinds of books you'll read? Do you like to read one genre only and don't want to spend time reading other types of books?

My own mother-daughter book clubs read all types of books, with the exception of crime and romance. Over the years we've picked up current fiction, historical fiction, memoir, philosophy, fantasy, science fiction and more. Our group members like—for the most part— being introduced to books they wouldn't normally pick up off the bookstore shelf.

I've attended meetings where the group only reads fantasy novels, and I've heard from clubs who focus on a theme.

Even if your club has a specific type of book you always pick, that doesn't mean everyone will like every book. In fact, it's best if everyone doesn't. There's usually not much to discuss if you all say, "I liked this part of the book," or "I thought it was great when..."

Real discussion usually comes from disagreement, and book club is a great place to learn how to disagree on opinion respectfully.


message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
Where can you go to look for book club book recommendations? Well, I certainly hope you'll check out my website http://www.motherdaughterbookclub.com. My book recommendations and reviews are there, as well as some sent in by other readers. I also have a list broken down by age group in the back of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs.

In addition, it's great if you establish a relationship with a youth librarian. She'll know about new books coming out as well as perennial favorites in your daughters' age group. If she knows about other titles that have been successful in your book group, she can probably recommend other books that are likely to be successful.

I like to go into my local bookstore and see what the employees there are recommending.

Recently, my daughter Catherine and I chose The Cardturner by Louis Sachar for our book club. We found it by reading a shelf tag at Powell's that said it was funny and thoughtful and taught readers a bit about the card game Bridge.

After leaving Powell's we checked online reviews and then talked to our librarian. I find it's good to have multiple sources you can turn to for help in finding books.


message 5: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
I was once asked if being in book clubs had made me more picky about the kinds of things I like to read. The reporter assumed that since I read more than some people I would know pretty quickly the types of books I didn't like to read.

I hadn't thought about the question before, but I was surprised that my answer was just the opposite. My reading tastes have broadened by being in book clubs, both the mother-daughter type and with other adults only.

That's because I often pick up a different viewpoint and a greater appreciation of a book when I hear someone else discuss what they liked about it, regardless of what I thought.

Sometimes I'll go into a book club discussion thinking I really didn't like what we read and I can't imagine what we'll talk about. After book club is over, though, I usually change my opinion for the better.

It seems as though there are so few avenues in life that let us thoughtfully discuss issues in which we have differences of opinion. Book clubs in general go against that trend.

Early on I would have said realistic fiction and historical fiction were the best kinds of books to talk about with a group. Now I know pretty much all genres work. The best discussions come from a good story, no matter what genre that story is told in.


message 6: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Saunders | 5 comments A shout out for The Cardturner.... my daughter and I read it for Mother-Daughter Book Club and then my husband, my son and two friends staying with us all read it and enjoyed it too. Some books can appeal to lots of different groups of readers.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
Good point Ellen. A truly great book for discussion will often appeal to many generations and both sexes.

Some of the favorites from my book clubs over the years include:

Boy, where you get to find out where Roald Dahl got inspiration for some of his outrageous characters.

Framed, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, which looks at what can happen to a town when hope for a better life abandons the people who live there and how art can bring inspiration back.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, which examines what it means to be true to your family while also rising above its problems.

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, which is about overcoming disability and confronting your tormentors.


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