Starting a Book Club

Posted on October 20, 2010. Filed under: Information | Tags: |

Do you love talking about books? Ever thought of starting a book club? Here is some information on how to get started, pick a book, find discussion questions, and find author information.

How to Get Started

There are a few decisions you need to make before starting your club. Where are you holding it? Who are you inviting? What type of books are you going to read. Here are a few websites that provide additional clues on how to get a book club started:

  • Tips on Starting a Book Club Reading Group Choices has a short but sweet list of questions to ask yourself when starting a book club.
  • ALA’s How to Start a Book Discussion Group This wiki entry by the American Library Association gives you questions to answer on what type of book club you want, tips on structuring your meeting, do’s and don’t on selecting books, how to hold a book discussion, and more.
  • Starting a Book Club on Your Own Another short but sweet list by that also gives suggestions on how to establish a book club and keep it alive.
  • Oprah’s How to Start a Book Club Oprah’s website offers suggestions on forming a group, locations to meet, how to pick books, etc.

What to Read…

Once you have set up your book club, you will need to pick books to read. Here are some great places to find books to discuss:

Discussion Questions

Need a discussion guide for a book you picked? Here are some great resources for discussion questions:

  • Reading Group Guides My favorite place to look for discussion guides. I’m not sure how many they have, but they have over 100 entries just for books beginning with the letter A.
  • Book Browse This website has over 500 discussion guides for various books.
  • Reading Group Choices This site provides a way to search for discussion questions by title, author, etc. Plus, it offers a search by genre option in case you aren’t sure what you want to discuss yet.
  • Look for discussion questions on the website for the publisher of the book (HarperCollins, Putnam, etc.). Because of the popularity of book clubs, many publishers now provide reading guides for their books on their websites.
  • Look in the back of the books you are selecting. You’d be amazed how many are now published with their own discussion questions.
  • Create your own questions!

Author Information

Finally, I have always found that giving a brief bio on the author and listing his or her accomplishments adds depth to a book discussion. Here are some resources for author information:

  • Literature Resource Center by Gale This is a database to which our library subscribes. If this link does not work, go to the following page and pick the Literature Resource Center Gale link. Enter your MyOakton username and password to access the database from off campus.
  • Google the author to find their web page. Often, authors provide their own biographies.
  • Go to the publisher’s website. Most publishers have a brief biography of their authors.
  • Go to the websites under discussion questions above. Often these sites provide a brief biography in addition to discussion questions.

Good luck and happy discussing!

-posted by Gretchen Schneider


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