Selecting Book Club Books
Reading club leaders have an infinite number of titles to choose from. There are thousands of fiction and non-fiction titles in print, and the staggering number of e-books you can choose from makes your decision even more overwhelming.
As a book group leader, you need to choose titles that will keep your members' interest, entertain them and lead to an exciting discussion.
Read more to discovery what books for pick for your group reading list.
You obviously don't want books that bore your reading club members to tears, but how do you find the books that are right for your club? There are several questions you should ask yourself when evaluating potential book group selections.
* What are some of your favorite books? You don't want to bore yourself, either, so you don't want to always pick books you've read several times before. However, if you're not sure how to narrow down your search, your favorite books always make a good starting point. You already know you like the book and may have some discussion points in mind for it. In order to make the selection process fairer and not just about your personal tastes, ask all the group members to anonymously submit a list of their three favorite titles. That way you can draw one of the titles from this book group reading list at random if you are completely stuck as to how to pick your next book club selection.
* What is your club's specific purpose? Most reading clubs have a purpose beyond just reading books. For example, a book group at a church or temple probably wants to help encourage members' spirituality through reading books, while a reading club at a senior center may be attempting to ease seniors' loneliness through sharing literature. Think about why your book group exists and choose titles that reflect that purpose. This also helps you steer cleer of books that might offend the members of your club. For example, you might want to avoid books that challenge particular religious beliefs at a religious book group.
* What do you think club members will find challenging? Although reading clubs often help members feel connected to their community, another purpose of forming a club is to challenge one another via difficult books and thoughtful discussion. The level of challenge depends on the make up of the club. Some reading clubs may enjoy the challenge of reading classic literature, while others may find this literature too long, dry or complicated. Always match the material with book group members' interests and attention span to provide an appropriate challenge.
* What genres do club members enjoy? Whether your reading club is devoted to fiction, non-fiction or both, there's plenty of genres to explore. Depending on your members' tastes and interests, you might dedicate time to romantic fiction, historical fiction or science fiction. Non-fiction clubs can focus on true crime stories, memoirs or biographies. You might want to mix genres to keep things more interesting, but try not to choose genres that are entirely unrelated to your book group members' interests. For example, if your reading club mainly reads romances, don't choose science fiction (unless it's about forbidden love between aliens and humans.)
* What's hot right now? The bestseller lists give you clues as to what type of books your reading club members might be able to really get into discussing. Popular books usually have some merit to them or millions of people wouldn't be going out and buying them. Even if you're not completely in love with a particular bestseller, it will probably offer plenty of discussion opportunities for your book group. Of course, you should still evaluate bestsellers to see if the topic and theme are a good fit for your reading club, but the current bestseller list can be a helpful tool for finding books to read.
* How long is the book? This might seem obvious, but you don't want to choose mosr 900-page books for your reading club meetings. Most of the time, you should avoid extremely long books because members might not have time to read them. Of course, if there's a particular book that everyone in your book group is dying to read, you should make an exception to this rule.
If you use these questions as a guide, you should be able to find plenty of books that are suitable for your book club reading list. While everyone won't enjoy every book, you'll be able to choose a diverse enough range of books to allow most members to have fun so that they'll keep coming to your book club.
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