The Next Best Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Many of you have indicated that you are "currently reading" one book or another for a book club to which you belong. I was curious, how you go about selecting the books. Do you just randomly discuss? Do you have a format? What are some of the books you have selected over time?

message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 163 comments My book groups rotate. Each member is assigned a month to pick the book and moderate the discussion. (I am in three). The two smaller groups...5 people...are held in our homes. So my pick for May was The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchet. I held the meeting in my home, led the discussion on the book, and served dinner after.

Previous books included A Brief History of the Dead, Random Harvest, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Road. We've been meeting for almost 10 years now!

I'm also a member of a mystery reading group and an contemporary fantasy group. Recent reads in mystery included The Heat of the Moon by Sarah Parshall and Blood Work by Steve Womack. In fantasy, we have read The Book of Lost Things.

message 3: by Marsha (new)

Marsha I am in the book club at my library. We select all of the books for the follwing year towards the end of the year so the library can take care of the advertising in one fell swoop.

I've been doing this for a year now though, and I can definitely see a downside to that method. The books we are reading now we picked a year ago and some had lost their appeal. We picked several "downers" and lost members because of it.

The upside though, is that we do have the use of a community room and our reads are advertised- so sometimes people show up for one book they have an interest in and that can be really interesting. When we read Maria Doria Russell's Threads of Grace we had a WWII veteran who had served in Italy during the time show up to discuss the book and talk about his experiences there.

message 4: by Macy (new)

Macy | 155 comments We have a few starting requirements and then vote. Every month we switch between fiction and non-fiction and the books have to be in paperback. We meet at a book store, so usually when we meet each person grabs a couple books to suggest to the group. Then before we leave we vote. It usually works quite well.

message 5: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 714 comments In my work friends book club we rotate so each person gets a chance to pick. In the other one-the South Shore Readers group from goodreads we meet in a bookstore and poke around to get ideas then go with a general consensus. Both are working well so far.

message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Thanks Brenda. Can I come to your house next time you are serving dinner? I'll have to take a look at the ones I haven't read. Our club does the rotational thing, but meets at the Club House for the subdivision most of the members live in.

message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Marsha, I can see how enthusiasm might wane as new books come on the scene. The club I am in pretty much does it a month at a time, although we do batch it when we are looking for speakers and have to plan more in advance.

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Macy, I like the idea of going back and forth. This month, we are doing the Guernsey Potato Peel and Pie Society, but are planning for another month The Last Plantation which relates to the area where we meet and inviting the author to speak.

What have you read lately?

message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Joanie, I like the rotational system, but some leaders are better than others. Do you use guidelines for the leaders or do they do their own thing.

South Shore Readers group sounds like fun. Wish I had more locals and we could meet at a bookstore. Just smelling the bindings improves the experience.

What have you read through your groups?

message 10: by Melanie (new)

Melanie In my book club, the host for that month selects three book choices and the members all vote via email for the one they want. We also try to bring food dishes centered on themes in the book.

message 11: by Kellie (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:45AM) (new)

Kellie (acountkel) | 992 comments I belong to 2 bookclubs that are directed from our local library.
The first one is just a general club. We read all genres.
The last meeting of the season (usually in May) we all jot down some of our requests and then our leader chooses the top 9-10 for the following season.
It seems to work pretty good this way. The books are not too recent and I've read some of them but I don't mind reading them again. Especially good one
Our leader runs our meetings and tells us a little bit about the author and gets our discussion started with various questions. We have a lively group so it usually isn't a problem getting the discussion going.

The other club is called "Southern Ladies". Our leader does a lot of research and chooses the books that either have been mentioned in club or that she chooses from her research.
The books are related to the South in some way. Whether it be the storyline, the author, etc.
It's amazing how many books there are about the south. Especially the Civil War. Boy am I getting an education.
This year, we are going to read "Gone with the Wind"
I have never read this so I am really looking forward to it.
Our leader is a retired History teacher. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with us on various topics and she is great at thinking up good questions to ask.

Love both my clubs!
And the people in them!

Books we have read over time...(from both clubs)
The Human Stain-Phillip Roth
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Savannah Breeze-Mary Kay Andrews
Savanna Blues-Mary Kay Andrews
The Water is Wide-Pat Conroy
Uncommon Clay-Margaret Maron
Wrapped in Rain-Charles Martin
Water For Elephants-Sara Gruen
With No One as Witness-Elizabeth George
Redeeming Love-Francine Rivers
Captain Saturday-Bob Inman
Between Georgia-Joshlyn Jackson

message 12: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Kellie, I love the idea of focusing on history since I was a history major. Even the fiction I have read that includes history seems to have more body to it. I especially love those books that split the story between "the now" and "the back when".

By the way, our club has read:

First Mothers - Bonnie Angelo
Midwives - Chris Bohjalian
Climbing The Mango Tree - Madhur Jaffrey
Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin Kearns
The Last Jihad - Joel Rosenberg
Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

message 13: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments Me and my friends have bookclub as well and we decide through suggestion. Each person gets a turn to pick the time, place, and book and then we go from there.

message 14: by Jen (new)

Jen | 278 comments I am in a local book group with some mom friends and their babies. We all met through a nursing moms' group and started a book club. It has been fun because the babies have all been together for over a year now.

We choose our books by rotation. Each month, one person is responsible for bringing three options. They present the options to the group and then we vote on which one we'll read. It has worked out really well for us.

We've read the following:
East of Eden (reading now)
Blindness by Jose Saramago (this one generated GREAT discussion)
Jesus Land by Julia Sheeres
A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Love in the Time of Cholera by Marquez
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

message 15: by Krista (new)

Krista (findyourshimmy) | 382 comments I'm so glad you posted this. I'm hoping to start up a lunch-time book club at my work and this has given me some fabulous ideas. I'll be sure to let everyone know what happens with it.

message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Ikiwiki, that is so fabulous. I am anxious to hear how it goes and, by the way, props to you for starting a book club. I love being a member of one, but like with Lisa, am a bit shy about starting one. I was recently put in charge of taking care of the details for our club and that is enough for me.

I think you will have any number of choices of books to read depending on your membership since everyone here is soooooooooooo helpful.

message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments My job also has a book club and sometimes the authors join us as well. We might be having Junot Diaz in October.

message 18: by Krista (new)

Krista (findyourshimmy) | 382 comments Thanks for the encouragement, Linda! I will be sure to post how things go.

I'm actually hoping I get get the club to agree to some online stuff with goodreads...perhaps our own group discussion board for in-between meetings.

message 19: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Donna, what a coupe! Have you seen his interview on Borders website?

message 20: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments No. I have not. I will check on that now thx!!

message 21: by Krista (new)

Krista (findyourshimmy) | 382 comments A quick update...

I posted a message on our electronic bulletin board at work about starting a book club. There are eight of us total and we'll be having our first meeting at lunch next Tuesday. The initial get-together is just to introduce everyone and chit-chat. We'll select our first book and then meet in November for an actual discussion.

The way it seems to be working out is we'll meet once each month. We'll alternate between a lunch meeting at our place of employment to an after-work meeting at a local restaurant (the members' prefernces for this were split right down the middle).

For the first month, I put out three book suggestions and we'll decide on the winner next week.

So far, it looks to be coming together quite nicely.

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Everyone votes on what book to read. Sometimes I participate in the Library book club which they pick the book.

message 23: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments It's Offical!!! Junot Diaz will be at my place of employment Oct. 17th I had to go buy the book cuz I borrowed the one I read from the library. Of course he has to sign it!!!

I already got my questions ready!! I am so0o0o excited!

message 24: by Melody (new)

Melody | 564 comments There are 11 in our book club which is run through the library (ie they supply all the books). We make a list of about 25-30 books that we are interested in reading which we submit to the library. They select 12 for the year and we meet 1st Tuesday of each month at the local pub. I love my book club!

message 25: by Angela (new)

Angela | 1934 comments My book club is a group of close friends. We have been meeting once a month and this month is our two year anniversary. We started off as a small group, but have actually grown quite a bit. It makes it more difficult to discuss the book in my opinion. We rotate houses and the person who is hosting is responsible for food and wine. We play BINGO, but actually it is NOVEL on the card. We pick different words from the book to use for BINGO. This actually generates a lot of discussion about the book because when the person calling out the words says V-mental hospital, we say oh yeah remember when...We each pitch in 5 dollars and whoever wins gets the pot. We clear our cards because we also each bring a 10 dollar gift and whoever gets BINGO first gets to pick their gift first and so on. We do not clear our cards once we start with the gift BINGO. Whoever is hosting it next brings a list of books (5 or so) and we have a secret vote, which is how we decide the next book for the month.
Yep, so our book clubs are gambling and boozing!!

message 26: by Leila (new)

Leila (leilasbooks) I want to be in a bookclub where one meet up and discuss :( I haven't found one yet. I did see a local advertisement in the city library about it and signed up but they said that it is currently full so I will have to wait (but I am on the list!).

It would be such a nice way to both enjoy and read new works of literature, make new friends and seems so fun :)

message 27: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
Donna, getting to meet an author and find out what prompted them to write the novel, who thier influences are.... wow.... i got to do it once, and it was something I will never ever forget!!

You are lucky!

message 28: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 163 comments Leila...check your local Barnes and Noble, Borders, or BAM. I'm in three groups and the larger one meets at a local Borders. The manager was thrilled when we contacted him to use the space because they are encouraged to host book groups in the stimulates business. I know the B&N here has book groups also.

message 29: by Ashley (new)

Ashley  (angelashly) | 160 comments Angela- I want to join your group. It sounds like so much fun.

message 30: by Paula (new)

Paula | 1098 comments This sounds like such a fun group! A friend is supposed to start a group next month. I'm looking forward to it. We're supposed to have wine and discuss books. Rotate houses and the person hosting gets to choose the book. The BINGO idea sounds really fun.

message 31: by Heather (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:38AM) (new)

Heather (heatherhassie) Hello everyone! We have a book club at the school where I teach. At the beginning of the year, we all meet in somebody's classroom after school. Members bring books and/or book suggestions with them, and write the titles of each up on the board. Then we go around the room sharing the title and why it's a book we should read this year. After all of the books have been shared, we each get a slip of paper and list the top three books we'd like to read. Each time a book gets a vote, a tally mark is placed beside it. Then, we look at all the tallies, and any books that got zero votes gets eliminated. The most popular books get picked, and if we need to vote again, we do (sometimes there are ties!). In the end, we usually end up with a variety of genres, and types of books.

We tend to have our meetings at somebody's house, and turn it into a pot-luck appetizer type of gathering. Once or twice a year we meet at a restaurant, which can be nice, but makes it hard get a big enough table, and also hard to be able to hear everyone.

Last year people were a bit ambitious and there were quite a few books that were intense reads. I can only remember a few books from last year, because, there were some that I couldn't get into, and didn't finish reading (this is a rare thing!). Here are some from last year: The Dante Club, Three Cups of Tea, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

We decided this year to pick books that were much easier (and more fun!) to read.

Here's the list of books that we are reading this year (we go by school year calendar):

1. Green Grass Grace by Shawn McBride (if you live in or around Philadelphia, read this book!)

2. Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen

In December, in between book #2 and #3, we are taking a break, and taking a Book Club trip to the movie theater to see "Twilight." :)

3. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands and also Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (a two book month)

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

6. Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs

7. Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

8. 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (Black Cat Series) by Melissa P.

message 32: by Angela (new)

Angela | 1934 comments Ashley, it is a lot of fun! I wish we discussed the book more, but it is nice to get together and have fun with the girls.

message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments Our book club is in its 3rd season and I think we are just beginning to get comfortable with each other. We still have some pull and tug about the reading matter since we have some people who like nothing and some people who want it to be a college seminar.

I recently watched The Jane Austen Book Club and was really blown away (of course I know it's a movie so they have to do that) with the depth of conversation. I hope that our book club discussions can evolve over time to a bit more depth of meaning. I like digging for the real deal in a book. And, of yah, I went out and bought Persuasion yesterday just because of the movie.

message 34: by Eileen (new)

Eileen (eileencolucci) I've been in the same Book Group for about 10 years. We are always 10 - 5 expats living for the moment in Morocco and then there are 5 other spots for people who join for a year or two (or more), until they move on. We try to meet once a month, Sept-June. The person "hosting" (light hors d'oeuvres, heavy dessert) gets to pick the book. She'll usually run it by the group to make sure that we haven't all read it. This does mean that you sometimes end up reading a book you might never have picked up. Usually the discussion makes up for a really tedious or difficult read. I'm hoping that's the case with this month's book, "The Enchantress of Florence." I am thus far not enchanted.

We read mostly fiction, with notable exceptions (Blink, Botany of Desire, Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Lexus and the Olive Tree). Fiction highlights from last year that lead to really good discussions: A Thousand Splendid Suns, Love Medicine, Ordinary Love & Good Will, and The Cleft.

We've started a fun tradition for our summer reads. Each member brings a wrapped book to our meeting in June and puts it in the grab bag. At the end of the evening, we each pick our surprise read for the summer. Then in September each member gives a short "report" on what she's read and answers questions.

Note to Donna and Lori: It is a lot of fun for the writer to present her book to a group as well. (Barbara Ehrenreich calls it "ego food"). I hosted my own novel last year and have been to several other local book groups for readings/discussions and it is a real joy. The true reward of writing is sharing those (sometimes surprising) connections with readers. There's nothing better.

message 35: by Krista (new)

Krista (findyourshimmy) | 382 comments Eileen,

I love the "grab bag" idea for a summer read. How fun! Everyone gets a new book and everyone learns about the others' reads after the summer. What a great idea!!! I just may have to steal it. ;-)

message 36: by Kim (new)

Kim | 70 comments
I found a fantastic book club through The women are very intelligent and funny.

message 37: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments I am also going to steal that Grab Bag idea too!!! Thanks!!

message 38: by Eileen (new)

Eileen (eileencolucci) All are welcome to the Grab Bag idea! It really is a lot of fun. And solves the problem when members are leaving the group in June and won't be around to discuss a new Group read in September. (Group reads are purchased, while the Grab Bag books are usually books that have been lying on a shelf for a while).

message 39: by Allison (new)

Allison i wish that i knew of a book club around me.
i'll have to check out b&n and borders.
i would love to meet some new people who love books + talking about them as much as i do.

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Also check with your library. Mine has several book clubs on different genre's.

message 41: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (sir_reads_a_lot) | 509 comments I'm still currently looking for a book club in my local area, and I was wondering how people found theirs.

message 42: by Krista (new)

Krista (findyourshimmy) | 382 comments I made my own with coworkers.

Although, now I found out there are several bookclubs in my area through the library and local book stores.

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Through a bunch of moms at church and library. My old job a bunch of us did a book group. But when I left it fizzled out.

message 44: by Maria (new)

Maria (minks05) | 481 comments my local library has one. i have found in the past, however, that bookclubs tend to meet during daytime hours, which makes it hard for those who work to participate.

if your local or branch library doesn't have a group, or has one that meets when you can't, talk to the head librarian or director of programming. libraries are always looking for more ways to get new patrons into the doors.

message 45: by LeAnne (new)

LeAnne (early-riser) I've been in a book club since 1992 and am the lone survivor of the original six who started. The group has never been more than six, but now is down to three because we are so comfortable with each other and the last two to leave weren't a good fit. Now we're a little gun shy to bring anyone else in.

The group started with the concept that we would rotate book picks each month and the person who picked the book would host either appetizers or dinner at their house. We only had a few hardbacks, no horror, no romance and you couldn't pick a book you'd already read.

We discovered early on that we enjoyed each other's company so much and were so interested in what was going on in each other's lives that we had a hard time devoting much time to the discussion of the book. Several members left because of this.

Now, the last three meet approximately every three weeks at a restaurant chosen by the person who selected the book. We talk very little about the book, but it is the glue that causes us to meet each month. We suspended the no hardback rule, but still won't chose horror or romance.

This month we're reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (we already read her other two books) and we're in a couple weeks. I'm picking next, and haven't decided, but I'm leaning toward Desert Queen by Janet Walloch. It was recommended to me by the owner of the Sunriver Bookstore as a complement to Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell which I read a couple weeks ago.

Speaking of the Sunriver Bookstore in Sunriver Oregon, they have several great book clubs. One of my favorites is called Carol's surprise and it's not a group that meets or discusses. The owner selects books that she's read that are not famous and sends them to you in the mail on the first of each month. It's always a surprise to get them and I've loved every one.

If you're ever in Sunriver, Oregon you must visit that bookstore.

message 46: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 163 comments A friend owned a bookstore and started a group. There are two of us from that original group, but total 5. The second group was also started by the same friend for mystery lovers because she saw that has her highest volume of sales.

She also offered a SciFi group. Since that time, we have moved from her store, but have actually founded another goup. The original mystery group and SciFi group meet at a local Borders.

When we found ourselves in need of a place to meet, we found that a new Borders was being pressured by the home offices to host book groups but none of the employees wanted the responsibility. They were thrilled when we asked if we could meet there. They now have 7 groups meeting throughout the month.

message 47: by Grace (new)

Grace (writergracie) | 12 comments I'm in two book groups. The first group meets at the local library and is facilitated by a librarian. He does accept book recommendations from members of the group, but our schedule is set for the year by late fall. The second group is through and meets once a month to discuss chosen via voting by all members. There are over 200 people signed up for this meetup, but only 20 can attend. The books in each month's votes are from recommendations by group members and by the moderator.

message 48: by Celeste (new)

Celeste (celestelueck) | 107 comments I'm in the middle of my third year with a book club I join with my mother-in-law moved close to us from Illinois. It was through the Newcomers Group in our area, and gave us something to do together. I don't think I would have ever joined a book club if it hadn't been for her and I have enjoyed every second of it.

The rule of the group we belong to is that you have to have read a book in order to suggest it. We pick books twice a year, usually, in August and November. Everyone is asked to bring the books they have read that they think the group would enjoy. We go around the group circle and everyone give a blurb on their book or books. Than we vote on three in August to get us through September, October, and November; and five in November to take us from January through May. If your book wins the vote you present the month that book comes up. Except for once or twice this has worked really well.

We go to lunch together in December, and excharge a wrapped book we liked, but didn't think we book club material. We do informal meetings during the summer months just to keep in touch and see what everyone is reading.

We truly read from all genres. This has expanded my reading spectum, not that I have loved everything we have read, but on the other hand not everyone has loved the books I have suggested. Our wide range in book is reflected in our members. They come to us from all over the globe, are all women, but range in age from about 40 to 96.

Books we have read:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zabon (Great)
The Thirteen Tale by Diane Sitterfield?
A Beautiful Mind (Currently Reading)
Einstein by Brian
Doc Susie (can't remember the author, but a great story)
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck(Our January read)
The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (Great)
Chasing the Devils Tail by David Fulmer (Great)
The Wednesday Letters by Jason Young?

message 49: by Melody (new)

Melody | 564 comments Celeste - why the ? behind The 13th Tale. Is that because the group didnt like it or what? I see that you have mentioned other books that were great and not that one. I am thinking of nominating this book to my book club as I thought it would be a great book club read. I have already read it and would happily read it again.

message 50: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 997 comments Linda wrote: "Many of you have indicated that you are "currently reading" one book or another for a book club to which you belong. I was curious, how you go about selecting the books. Do you just randomly disc..."

I belong to a number of book clubs and each is a bit different.

In several of them we have nominations and voting. In at least one the "leader" picks the books. And in another we invite "new" members to pick the book for the next month. We try to go "round robin" with each person in the group putting up one book.

-- Wife of GR author Michael J. Sullivan: The Crown Conspiracy (10/08) | Avempartha (04/09)

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