Good discussion books

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Good discussion books

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1angstrat Ensimmäinen viesti
elokuu 12, 2006, 11:08pm

My current group has been in existence for about a year and a half now. The membership fluctuates but we've been holding steady at around 8 members for several months. Our current read is Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, after reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked last month. Sometimes we struggle with getting a good discussion going that goes beyond why we liked/disliked the book. What strategies does your club use for discussion? What books has your group chosen that have generated the best discussions?

elokuu 13, 2006, 1:31pm

Hello, angstrat. I belong to two book clubs. One of them meets at the library and we've been going strong for four years. We only meet for about an hour each month, and we spend approximately the first 30 minutes discussing what we liked/disliked about the work. After that we usually discuss the author's life, what or who might have influenced the creation of that particular book, and things of that sort. This club is made up men and women. Last month we read Murdered by His Wife and currently we're reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

The second club I belong to is women only, and we meet at each other's homes and serve food and wine. These meetings last longer, but we don't seem to discuss the books the whole time. *chuckle* We all have daughters in the 13-14 year old range, and once every few months we include them in the discussion. Last month was a mother-daughter read, and the girls had picked out For Freedom: the Story of a French Spy. I don't know what next month's pick is yet.

It may seem odd, but the books we all dislike the most often generate the most interesting discussions! Many of us enjoyed the historical aspect of Murdered by his Wife but we all thought it was poorly written. But we had one of our best meetings ever discussing it. Go figure. We had a pretty decent time discussing The Kite Runner, A Walk in the Woods, Their Eyes Were Watching God, East of Eden and Reading Lolita in Tehran.

elokuu 13, 2006, 7:02pm

Clamairy, I love the idea of including your daughters in book club. The Kite Runner was also a pretty good discussion book for our group, as was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great book. It was the all city selection in the city where I work. Although I didn't participate in any formal discussions, I had several interesting conversations with coworkers about the book.

elokuu 13, 2006, 7:07pm

Is an 'all city sellection' something like a 'Town Read?'

elokuu 14, 2006, 5:31pm

Hello fellow bookclubbers!

I joined a new group back in the spring, and we meet once a month. It's made up entirely of women and since we are all fairly new to the city (at most living here two years), we decided to meet at a different restaurant each time so we can explore different parts of Charlotte as well as having a midweek 'girls night out'. We're still recruiting new members, have had a couple drop out, and are pretty informal when it comes to the book discussion.

We're on a rotation with the book selection - each month, a different member chooses the book for that month. So far, we've read The Photograph, Women of the Silk, Atonement and Almost French. This month's book is The Myth of You and Me.

In case anyone's interested, here's a post I made on my blog about several book club guide books:

6checkercab Ensimmäinen viesti
elokuu 14, 2006, 6:34pm

Our library book group started out with 20 members (all women) and has settled down to about 8 faithfuls and we meet for about an hour and a half once a month. We have met for over 2 years, I think.

We got into a pattern of reading about "women in other cultures" Women of the Silk, Reading Lolita in Tehran, Daughter of Fortune, etc.

Our next read is Digging to America by Anne Tyler. We have some good discussions but have yet to move out of the library into a social situation.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 15, 2006, 8:13pm

My 'all women' book club is made up of people who know each other from school sports and such. Sometimes we digress, and then some, from the book we're supposed to be discussing. The library club is made up of men and women I did not know before I joined, except for one woman who has recently joined. We usually stick to the topic pretty well. I think that the better one knows the members of one's book club, the easier it is to stray off-topic.

What have the rest of you experienced in this area?

elokuu 15, 2006, 8:23pm

I joined my book club after responding to a flier in a used bookstore. Only two of the members knew each other before. Coincidentally, all of the respondents were women approximately the same age. As time has gone by, we've added members, mostly drawing from friends and coworkers. As more friends have joined (and probably as we've grown to know each other better as well) it does seem that we stray off-topic much more. Our last meeting we decided to have a rotating group leader so that we are better able to keep discussion on track.

Do the rest of you have leaders for each session or is the talk more informal?

elokuu 16, 2006, 9:44am

My book club has been meeting for eight years, with a changing roster of members (three of whom are original members). We meet about once a month, at a restaurant that (hopefully) relates to the book in some way. We have also found that it is a disliked book that generates the most discussion. In picking the books, we go in rotation, one of us bringing in about 5 or 6 books and we decide from them by consensus.

About six months ago, we decided to compile a list of 100 essential books (classics old and modern), and we're going through those every other meeting. There are three extra members who only attend those meetings. It should take about 7 or 8 years, but we figured we've meeting that long already, so we can stick together to complete the task!

This month is our "regular" group, and we're reading Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth. Next month is our "essential books" group, and we're reading Brave New World.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 16, 2006, 11:21am

That is a great idea, cabegley. I've been trying to collect many classics over the years, but I find I rarely get to read them. I've been toying with the idea of starting another book club at our library solely for reading the classics. I guess I should find out if anyone else is actually interested first. We do occasionally throw a classic into our library club list, but not often enough for my taste.

Kudos to you for reigning in your book buying demons (or angels, as the case may be.) I have yet to do so. :o)

joulukuu 1, 2007, 9:12pm

The book that drew the most attendance this year at our group was Collapse by Jared Diamond.

maaliskuu 13, 2008, 4:26pm

Hey Angstrat,

How did your group like Fortress of Solitude? I read it pretty recently and I really liked it.


huhtikuu 7, 2008, 3:09pm

The book club I belong to is at my local library. Tonight we are discussing The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Personally, I couldn't finish it.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 2008, 7:48am

Our book club began 13 years ago, started as an escape for a group of mothers with small children. We have had a couple of changes, relocations, loss of loved ones, retirement, divorces and none of that stopped us from what our families realize is a sacred monthly meeting. We have watched our children go through adolescence, we have empty-nested, we have watched some marry, most of them travel all over the world, and we have faced serious illnesses. Nothing has stopped us from meeting.

I have a "Book Club" tag in my library for anyone interested in checking out the list and the ratings.

My favorite meetings are the ones in which two or more of us disagree about something in the book and get into heated discussions/debates. Somehow the chemistry of the group has been such that freedom of speech is paramount, and no hard feelings are brought to the dessert table when book talk is finished. interesting feature of our group is that whoever hosts the meeting must open with a poem, and over the years the pattern has developed that we try to make a connection between the poem and the book, by era, theme, or any connection the host perceives.

Our book for this month is The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman.

kesäkuu 18, 2008, 2:25pm

This is in regard to the Kite Runner. I read the book several years ago in a book group and came away with thinking it was a good book but not a great book and i could not figure out what all the fuss was about. I did here the author speak a few times and I really enjoyed listening to him speak.

THen the other night I watched the movie version. Watching the movie i realized something that i had missed before. Its the seen in the movie where he learns that his father "slept with the help" so to speak. The adult son gets angry upon learning this he says his father lied to him. It is after this point in the film that he finally gets a backbone. The point that I got from this was that as long as he saw his father as a "god" or perfect he was doomed to remain a boy but once he came to realize that his father was just a flawed human being like the rest of us he could then take on the responsiblities of being a man.

does anyone else have a thought on this?

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 18, 2008, 3:01pm

We used to do a number of things to keep our discussions lively.

1. Pick something bound to get everyone talking - We Need To Talk About Kevin had us going for a lot longer than our hour and a half time slot. Carol Sheilds Unless divided us into loved or hated but gave us a good but unexpected debate on whether her illness had affected her writing negatively. A Perfect Storm made most of us cry but for different reasons.

2. All get a different book by the same author and talk about the one we got. It was a bit odd because it was like giving a five minute summary and then a five minute session answering questions from the group. It used to start a lot of "I wish I had your book instead of mine" or "Yours sounded awful, I'm glad I got mine" conversations.

3. All get books by different authors but on the same topic and talk about the differences and similarities, which authors seemed to handle the topic better etc. Sometimes this could be a mix of fact and fiction, for example take a historical person and have some of the group read a biography and the others a historical novel.

4. The meeting leader used to print off research about the chosen book or author for us to talk about as well.

5. We used to do a lucky dip, all bring in a book in a carrier bag, mix up the bags and take a blind pick to read and talk about the following month. Sometimes we used to try to guess who brought which book at the end of the meeting and why we thought so.

6. We would read poetry or plays, fact or fiction.

7. Every so often we would do a quiz from past books and chip in a pound each to pay for a small prize (usually a book token). Say every six months we would have a quiz on the past six books read.

8. Sometimes we would get an audio book and discuss how this changed the book for us. Or we would get a DVD of the film version to watch after we read the book and talk about how this affected us and what we thought of the story.