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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

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, […]


Mon, February 10th, 2014
Diving into Nonfiction
Posted by: Neil Hollands

I’m late in the list of readers to take in the pleasures of Robert Kurson’s 2004 book, Shadow Divers. It’s a wonderful book, but I think most of you already knew that. So instead of talking just about Shadow Divers, I’ll use it as an example in exploring a broader question: what kind of nonfiction […]


Wed, February 5th, 2014
Men We Reaped
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr

Race may be one of the most difficult topics to confront in America.  Everyone has an opinion and no one has a solution.  We both obsess on it and ignore it every day in our interactions with each other.  We are all victims in some fashion or other. In Men We Reaped: a Memoir by […]


Fri, January 31st, 2014
Read Two Books and Call Me in the Morning
Posted by: Neil Hollands

Experienced readers know that books are good for the soul, and that can translate into improved psychological and even physical health. The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin takes that extra step made by some bibliotherapists, and suggests that particular books can be used to treat specific ailments. As their subtitle notes, they […]


Mon, January 27th, 2014
What Was Lost
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr

Our winter crime fiction book discussion kicked off the New Year by reading What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn.  This novel is O’Flynn’s first and it is quite the ambitious effort for a fledgling novelist. The story is told in three parts.  The first part takes place in 1984.  Here we have the actions and […]


Wed, January 22nd, 2014
Flibbertigibbits
Posted by: MaryKate Perry

Sidone slowly came onto the stage.  She was wearing a riding outfit and a black, feathered hat.  With an eye patch.  And a riding whip.  Vaisy whispered to me, “That’s what I wear when I am Black Beauty.”  I whispered back, “What, you wear an imaginary eye patch when you are your imaginary horse?”  She […]





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