How to Begin and Lead a Book Discussion Group
Book discussion groups build community. They offer opportunity for intelligent conversation and lead to deeper understanding of an author's work. Members form life-long friendships. Get your group started now!
Great Resources to Get Started
- American Library Association Professional Tips. Book Discussion Groups
- BookBrowse Getting started, moderating meetings, difficult meetings, choosing books and more
- Book Clubs Resource.com complete guide to book clubs and reading groups
- Book Group Buzz Book group tips, reading lists, & lively talk of literary news from the experts at Booklist Online
- Book Group Corner Random House's guide to book group types, leadership, selecting books and more
- Book Group How-Tos from the Seattle Public Library guide to leading, coming up with good discussion questions, drawing conclusions and more
- LitLovers.com Book Club Ideas-Recommendations-1500 LitLovers' Book Discussion Guides-Book Reviews
- Generous Books A free website tool that helps you manage a book club
- About.com "How to Start, Maintain and Lead a Book Club," an extensive website with everything needed to succeed
- Reading Group Guides Starting, running and choosing books for a reading group
- ReadingGroupChoices.com Tips on getting started and making your group more lively
- Movie Tie-in Books Hollywood has a long history of drawing on great books for films; coupling books with their films makes for lively discussions
- More Books to Movies from Bestsellers.com
And Keep it Going....
- Newman, Leigh. "9 Things Never to Say at A Book Club," O Magazine, March 9, 2012. http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/What-Not-to-Say-During-a-Book-Club-Meeting/
- Newman, Leigh. "14 Ways Not to Kill Your Book Club," O Magazine, December 7, 2011. http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/How-to-Have-a-Succesful-Book-Club
- Dempsy, Beth. "The Evolving Book Group: New Formats Mean More Engagement," Library Journal, September 1, 2011.
- Lundquist, Molly. "How to Lead a Book Group Discussion - 7 Great Discussion Tips," Articlesbase.com July 14, 2009.
- Starting a Book Club in a Mid-sized Public Library, MLA Forum, February 2002
Looking for a reading guide?
- About.com Bestsellers includes over 200 guides to popular best-selling books
- BookBrowse 500 guides reprinted from the publishers
- Book Movement Tracks the 100 most popular book club selections nationally; must take a free membership to access guides
- Oprah's Book Club 60 Books excerpts, reading questions, character guide and author interviews or essays
- ReadingGroupGuides.com Nearly 3,000 guides to help you plan your book discussion
- Try the Web site of the publisher of the book.
- Best discussion we've seen on the pros and cons of using prepared guides or your own experience is Molly Lundquist's Reading Guides for Book Clubs: To Use or Not to Use Articlesbase.com July 14, 2009.
Can't find a guide? Create your own...
- BookBrowse Do It Yourself
- Canadian Book Clubs Some typical discussion questions
- Reading Group Guides Questions for all book genres when there is no guide available
- Best set of generic questions that we've seen Molly Lundquist's Generic Book Discussion Questions
Finding Book Sets in Iowa for Your Discussion Group
Libraries across Iowa make sets of individual book titles available to Iowa book clubs and discussion groups through lending from library to library.
- To get ideas and locate sets of books by author or title, consult the Multiple Copies of Books for Discussion Groups list.
- Then contact your local library to arrange access to a set of books for your group.
More Advanced Discussion Planning Tools
- A 44-page guide prepared by the Public Programs Office of the America Library Association. .
- How to Start a Great Books Discussion Group. Founded in 1947, the Great Books Foundation promotes the text-based Socratic method of learning. This discussion 27-page guide can be adapted to starting and leading any group.
- The Library of Congress Center for the Book List of One Book Projects by State and Country.
- Books in Common, an independent clearinghouse supporting Community Reads, All Campus Reads, Freshman Class Reading Programs, literary festivals, and writers workshops through providing fee and schedule information, securing venues at significant discounts (often thousands of dollars), as well as promoting the event once scheduled and providing free promotional materials.
Skype Chats with Authors
Kate Messner's Authors Who Skype With Classes and Book Clubs for Free though most on the list are for younger readers, there are a dozen authors of adult books here.
Book Clubs and Blogs
- Getting to Know Book Clubs Around the US
- Book Group Buzz - Discussion of Book Clubs, Reading Lists and Literary News (Booklist Online)
Just for Fun
Go to YouTube and search for "The Book Club."