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Updated by Emily Hauser on Aug 18, 2015
Headline for Book Clubs - Starting, Leading, Participating
Emily Hauser Emily Hauser
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Book Clubs - Starting, Leading, Participating

If you’ve never started a book club (and even if you have!), it can feel a little daunting. There are a lot of useful resources out there, though, and this list will help get you started.

The American Library Association is the professional association for librarians - and as you might guess, professional librarians have a lot of good ideas about getting a book club off the ground!

A literal checklist, this is a quick and easy place to start.

Reading Group Choices has a very useful selection of brief articles on book club questions, ranging from "Getting Ready for Your Next Discussion" to "Handling Book Group Divas."

A book club for kids will necessarily be different than one for adult readers - PBS Kids has some good advice on getting it launched (starting with the most important question: Does my child want to be in a book club?)

This links to NPR's best books of 2014, but you can move from there to the best books of the last several years. Be sure to check out the wider-ranging NPR Books, too!

This is a good resource for all the many aspects of running or participating in a book club, but the section on choosing your next book is particularly clear and useful, without immediately directing you to specific titles.

National Reading Group Month is sponsored every October by the Women's National Book Association (learn more by clicking here); the Association issues a list of "Great Group Reads" annually.

This article zeroes in on the question of consensus in choosing your club's next book (the rotation method, selection committees, the "bean" method....)

A quick and easy list of ideas for getting a conversation going, and participating in it as it chugs along.

Special emphasis is placed here on the importance of moderating and facilitating a discussion, rather than just letting conversation run its course - very helpful when some people are too shy to speak up, and others are overbearing (for extra help, click on "Tips on Handling Difficult Situations")

Back to the San Francisco Public Library's book club guide, because their sections on "How to read a book for a book discussion," "Leading the discussion," and "Sample questions for your discussion" are just so good!


LEADING A BOOK DISCUSSION - publishers and reviews

Don't forget: Many editions of popular new books now come with a Reading Guide at the end of the text, and publishers' websites frequently offer summaries, guides, discussion questions, and interviews with authors.

Another good resource to prompt discussion is book reviews. You can find these online just by searching the name of the book and the word "review." The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and Los Angeles Times all still have lively book sections; Publishers Weekly and Booklist are publishing industry resources that offer brief reviews of nearly any book you might think of.