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Book Group Buzz

A Booklist Blog
Book group tips, reading lists, & lively talk of literary news from the experts at Booklist Online

Archive for the 'Book Club Tips' Category

Tue, July 29th, 2014
A French Kiss in the Woods
Posted by: Neil Hollands

I have a new writer crush on Tana French. Although other mystery writers have worked the angle of writing different books in a series from the perspective of different detectives in the same police department, her Dublin Murder Squad series uses the device to brilliant effect, creating unanswered questions that leave one dying to read […]


Sun, July 20th, 2014
What Light in Yonder Saber Breaks? William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
Posted by: Neil Hollands

Looking for a change of pace for an upcoming book group meeting? I’m a big advocate of playing with the formula at least once a year and trying something unusual. The contrast helps to keep the standard meeting format fresh. One of my favorite variations is to read something aloud. There’s a great deal of […]


Wed, May 21st, 2014
Themes for Mystery Discussion Groups
Posted by: Neil Hollands

Mysteries are a great example of the kind of book that might better be handled by thematic discussion than by asking all of your readers to read the same title. Many mysteries (including some that are wonderful books) are highly plot driven, and it’s difficult to get a long discussion out of plot. Also, readers […]


Wed, April 30th, 2014
Don’t Supersize Me
Posted by: MaryKate Perry

Overlook, if you will, the title of this book, which plays on women’s deepest fears.  Picking up where the French Women Don’t Get Fat trend left off, Naomi Moriyama takes us to her native Japan, where women get neither fat nor old.  What, do they not get uninteresting or senile either?  Well, probably not.  Lay your skepticism aside […]


Sun, April 27th, 2014
Building Better Book Talks
Posted by: Neil Hollands

In any group where participants have not read the same title, particularly in thematic book groups, the paramount skill for a successful meeting is the ability of readers to describe what they read in an intriguing way. While most readers pick up this skill through the model of others over time, early efforts can be […]


Thu, April 17th, 2014
The Basic of Thematic Book Groups Pt. 2
Posted by: Neil Hollands

My last post gave hints on how to prepare for a thematic book group and get the meeting started. Let’s continue by examining how discussion at the meeting plays out and why this format is advantageous for many groups. After the introduction to the theme described in the previous post, it’s time for your readers […]


Sat, April 12th, 2014
The Basics of Thematic Book Groups, Pt. 1
Posted by: Neil Hollands

In my last post, I made the case that for many book groups, better formats are available than the everyone-reads-the-same-literary-novel format that is so common. The most useful of these is the thematic book group, in which each meeting is based around a theme, and each reader talks briefly about the book she or he […]


Tue, April 8th, 2014
Rethinking the Model for Library Book Groups
Posted by: Neil Hollands

When this blog began several years ago, coverage was split about evenly between descriptions of books appropriate to book groups and the best practices for running book groups successfully. We worked through most of the major topics of book group management, and discussion of best practices dwindled. For the last couple of years, Book Group Buzz […]


Wed, April 2nd, 2014
Short Stories for Men
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr

I just read three different short story collections that would work for a book discussion or two plus could attract male authors with their subject matter. First off is one of my perennial favorite novelists, Thomas H. Cook. His short story collection Fatherhood and Other Stories (2013) contains 11 stories, most of which deal with […]


Fri, March 21st, 2014
PLA Wrap-Up: Let’s Discuss Book Discussions
Posted by: Neil Hollands

Rebecca Vnuk of Booklist, Lucy Lockley of Missouri’s St. Charles City-County Library District and I led a discussion at the recent PLA in Indianapolis called “Let’s Discuss Book Discussions.” Over 100 librarians attended on a Friday afternoon late in the conference and seemed to be bursting with ideas and questions. It was a good discussion, […]





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