Friday, 22 March 2013



a reading club or a book club consists of several members who meet in person each month to talk about a specific work. Traditional reading clubs offer the benefit of having all members in the same room, which makes for a much more personal and intimate experience. Since most traditional book clubs are somewhat small in size, each member typically has more control over what books are selected to read (often members will vote on a list of suggested titles that have been submitted or take turns selecting).


Members who haven’t read the book
Come anyway. Not everyone can finish every book, but non-readers may still have valuable insights.

Disagreements about the book
Be gracious! There is no one way to experience or interpret a book. In fact, differing opinions are good.

Members who prefer to socialize
Be gentle but firm. Insist that discussion time be limited to the book. Some clubs hold book discussions first and invite "social members" to join afterward.

Dominating personalities
Never easy. “Let’s hear from some others” is one approach. Some clubs pass an object around the room; you talk only when you hold the object. If the person continues to dominate, a friendly conversation (never e-mail) might work. If all fails, sometimes they've just got to go—for the good of the club.

  1. Toss one question at a time out to the group.

  2. Select a number of questions, write each on an index card, and pass them out. Each member (or team of 2 or 3) takes a card and answers the question.
  3. Use a prompt (an object) related to the story. It can help stimulate members' thinking about some aspect of the story. It's adult show & tell. (Think maps, photographs, paintings, food, apparel, a music recording, a film sequence.) 

  4. Pick out a specific passage from the book—a description, an idea, a line of dialogue—and ask members to comment on it. (Consider how a passage reflects a character...or the work's central meaning...or members' lives or personal beliefs.

  5. Choose a primary character and ask members to comment on him or her. (Think character traits, motivations, how he/she affects the story's events and characters, or revealing quotations.)

  6. Distribute hand-outs to everyone in order to refresh memories or to use as talking points. Identify the primary characters and summarize the plot.  


    1. Watch your language! Try to avoid words like "awful" or "idiotic"—even "like" and "dislike." They don't help move discussions forward and can put others on the defensive. Instead, talk about your experience—how you felt as you read the book. 

     2. Don't be dismissive. If you disagree with someone else, don't refer to her as an ignoramus. Just say, "I'm not sure I see it that way. Here's what I think." Much, much nicer. 

     3. Support your views. Use specific passages from the book as evidence for your ideas. This is a literary analysis technique called "close reading." 

     4. Read with a pencil. Takes notes or mark passages that strike you—as significant or funny or insightful. Talk about why you marked the passages you did.

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