National Reading Group Month
October is National Reading Group Month, an occasion marked across the country by librarians, booksellers and others who regularly help tens of thousands of reading groups members find the best books to read and discuss--accompanied, in many cases, by good wine and gossip!
The Women's National Book Association, official sponsor of National Reading Group Month, has compiled the 2011 Great Group Reads, a list of 20 books--17 novels and three memoirs--that the selection committee found will "open up lively conversations about a host of timely and provocative topics." Most of the titles are lesser-known gems from smaller presses and mid-list books from larger houses. WNBA is also holding events around the country. For more information, go to NationalReadingGroupMonth.org.
Several companies help book groups get up and running, select appropriate titles, exchange ideas and more:
Bookmovement.com provides lists of best discussion books based on ratings and comments from 32,000 book clubs as well as book guides, tools for simplifying club communications, etc.
Reading Group Choices just released the 18th annual edition of its Reading Group Choices, which recommends 70 titles, with bibliographic data, book themes, information about the author and discussion starters.
Reading Group Guides offers more than 3,350 guides, has a newsletter, blog--and even a list of books about reading groups.
The American Library Association's Book Group Buzz, a Booklist blog, has tips, reading guides, news and some 130,000 book reviews.
Booksellers are also a rich resource for reading groups. Many bookstores run their own reading groups with a variety of themes or host reading groups. They also advise book groups. Some stores even have special events for book groups, setting aside an evening for book group members to mingle and learn about interesting books for discussion.
Do try any of these places either to help your reading group find more title or for information about joining a book group, one of the best places to meet others who love books and want to share and discuss what they're reading.
Happy reading! --John Mutter