By January 22, 2008 4 Comments Read More →

Victim of my own success

According to Ted Balcom, the ideal book group has 8 to 15 participants. As part of my Library’s “Jane-uary” celebration of Jane Austen’s life and works we are, of course, conducting a book discussion.

The plan was to have all interested participants read any Austen novel of their choice. A local Austen expert would then lead the readers in spirited discussion of any portion of a novel they chose to discuss and supplement conversation with information about Jane’s life, her times and critical analysis of the novels.

We have 72 people signed up for this book group. Kansas City is jazzed for Jane and I am at a loss as to how one conducts a productive discussion among 72 people.

Anyone out there ever hold a book discussion for more than 50 people? All suggestions, ideas and notions will be entertained and cheerfully cribbed.



About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

4 Comments on "Victim of my own success"

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  1.' Amanda says:

    If you have people signed up who have been faithful attendants of your book clubs in the past, perhaps you could ask them to be leaders for a smaller groups and provide them with handouts of discussion questions on the books.

    Jane-uary is brilliant!


  2.' Stephanie says:

    I wish I could help you – sometimes I have trouble keeping the ten people in my book club organized! I think Amanda’s suggestion above might work.

  3. Hope it’s not too late. Amanda’s idea is good, now go further and split 72 patrons into each book. Use JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB movie as inspiration,have Jane Austen expert give a QUICK chronology. Leaders present each book.
    Your main problem will be being brutal about “time to move along here.”
    Maybe you can have later meetings about specific works, esp if patrons look unsatisfied, which would be good…

  4.' Michelle says:

    I sometimes attend “Book & Bars” a book club in the city of Minneapolis which can sometimes have over 100 people in attendance! Book discussions are schedule to be one hour and a half long with another hour and a half of social time(for overtime discussion). I have never had a problem raising a question or comment. Somehow we all able to share.

    Remember not everyone is going to want to speak some people just might want to see what other people think. Just set the ground rules that everyone should get a chance to speak so therefore don’t always expect to be called on if you have already made a comment or asked a question.

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