Start A Club
Before You Start
- When, where and how often your book group will meet?
- How long each meeting will last?
- Do you want to serve refreshments?
- What types of books will you read and how they will be chosen?
- What is the role of the leader (or will you have one)?
- Who will develop the discussion questions?
Books with complex characters who live in difficult situations and are faced with difficult decisions are best. If everything is spelled out there is little to discuss. Look for books with unclear endings, with common themes, and that raise many, manu issues.
Reading For Discussion
Ask yourself questions, read carefully, and make notes as you go. Ask tough questions of yourself and the book. Does it have meaning for you? Analyze themes. What is the author trying to say in the book? Get to know the characters. Consider their faults and motives. Notice the book's structure. Do the chapters begin with quotes? How many people tell the story? Is the book written in flashbacks? Does the order make sense to you? Compare it to other books and authors. Themes often run through an author's works.
Lead The Discussion
Come prepared with 10 - 15 open-ended questions that can't be answered "yes" or "no." Use an ice-breaker question at the start of the meeting such as asking members to rate the book on a scale of one to ten. Asking this same question at the end of the evening can produce interesting results, as the discussion often causes participants to re-evaluate their initial position. Let the discussion flow naturally, but use the questions to guide the discussion and keep it on track. Remind participants that most questions don't have a right or wrong answer. Go beyond "I just didn't like it" statements. What was unappealing? The style? The characters? The setting? Books that inspire strong reactions can lead to great discussions. Balance the discussion between personal thoughts and responses to the book. Keep it focused on the book and above all, keep it fun!
The Authors' lives and experiences can provide additional topics for discussion. The Literature Resource Centre "Person Search" and the Books in Print "Bios" are great resources for author information.