By September 1, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Book Clubs Made ‘Simple’

The doyennes of clutter-and-stress free living have found a way for over-committed readers to participate in a book group on their own time. It’s an idea that libraries have been supporting for years, but the editors of Real Simple are doing it with a little more panache, which should come as no surprise since they are experts at doing things with simple elegance, the No-Obligation Book Club.

Every month, one of a revolving cast of Real Simple editors will choose four books for reader-subscribers to vote on. The winning title will be read by the editor-facilitator who will offer up comments and insights and open the boards for discussion from participants. Or not. This is the simple part. Participation isn’t mandatory and there’s no scheduled time to post comments. Much like library-sponsored online book groups.

In this month’s issue, Real Simple gathered some of the favorite book group choices of their readers and while most of the titles are familiar discussion favorites, one or two are delightful surprises with great comments. One reader’s group read Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre and stated that while no one in the group finished nor liked it, it provided fodder for one of the best conversations the group has ever participated in.   One group needed a few belts of bourbon to better appreciate the debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. Contributors read everything from graphic novels to The Holy Bible and expressed appreciation for titles that made them think and engage each other in deep conversation.

Let’s hope that Real Simple’s editor-facilitators can continue those book group traditions—reading outside comfort zones and generating thoughtful discussion.

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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.

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