By February 16, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

February Themes

Here are ten themes that would serve your book group well for spirited discussion at a February meeting:

1. VALENTINE’S DAY

Have your readers bring their favorite love stories to the group. This doesn’t need to be confined to conventional romances or even to fiction.

2. LOVE STINKS

For a little counterprogramming fun, bring books about love gone wrong, lonely hearts, or failed relationships. “Dump Your Significant Jerk Day” was February 6th.

3. PRESIDENT’S DAY

There are hundreds of great presidential biographies and works of historical fiction about the presidents, including some that are quite compact. Focus on Lincoln or Washington if you prefer; there are plenty of books about our two most famous presidents.

4. SOUTH AFRICA

Nelson Mandela was freed on February 11th, 1990. Commemorate the event by reading books by South African authors or about this intriguing country.

5. SHORT STORIES

It’s the shortest of all the months, why not read short stories? 2009 had a bumper crop of good short fiction. Consider recent collections by Alice Munro, Wells Tower, Daniel Mueenuddin, Lydia Davis, Bonnie Jo Campbell, John Updike, James Lasdun, Aleksandar Hemon, Lydia Millett, J. G. Ballard, Raymond Carver, or Maile Meloy, for instance.

6. BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Perhaps the best known of the commemorative months, Black History Month was begun back in 1926. Your group could celebrate it by bringing books by black authors or about African-American history.

7. CHARLES DICKENS

February 7th was his birthday back in 1812. Dickens is a one of the best classic authors for book groups. So much of his work holds up well and he wrote in different styles that can satisfy many different readers.

8. GO TO THE DOGS

Commemorate the annual Westminster Dog Show with fiction or nonfiction about our four-legged friends.

9. OLYMPIC EFFORTS

There are several ways to commemorate the Winter Olympics happening now in Vancouver. Read nonfiction about the olympics, books about sports, or books set in Canada, for instance.

10. MARDI GRAS

I’m not aware of too many books about the Mardi Gras festival, but books set in New Orleans or by Louisiana authors aren’t too hard to come by.

I’ll try to post the March list of themes a little earlier to give you more preparation time.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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