Book Group Toolbox #31: The Readers' Choice
Posted by: Kaite Stover
Recently I gave a workshop on Book Group Basics–starting, facilitating, choosing titles, that sort of thing. Don’t look at me like that. There are still folks out there who don’t belong to a book club and think it might be nifty to start one.
One of the print resources I bring with me is The Readers’ Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites by Victoria Golden McMains.
Ms. McMains, a book reviewer and book group member, published a monthly column, “Book Club Favorites,” in the Press Democrat. Many of those columns are collected in this compilation, and while most of the entries will be recognized by long-time book group denizens, there are more than enough unfamiliar titles to include on a new reading list.
All the entries are arranged alphabetically by author last name. McMains includes a good synopsis of each book and mixes fiction with nonfiction, biography and memoir primarily. She also includes a discussion topic to get readers thinking and talking. The best use of this topic is to give it to participants as they check out the book. It’ll fuel conversation later as readers have something to ponder as they read.
Each entry is only a page in length. The only quibble I have with this resource is its age. It’s time for an update. This is easily one of my favorite tools and it’s very affordable. Unfortunately, it’s also out of print, last time I checked. So if you have one, hold onto it. And if you don’t, you can get one easily at your favorite online used book source.