By October 11, 2010 3 Comments Read More →

Moderators: Do you always read the book before the group?

As I was thinking about recommending a book next week, I realized the sexuality in it could make some readers uncomfortable. As I was pondering how to approach this, I started wondering – do you usually make a point of reading a book before setting as a group selection? While it’s true that I often select books that I am already familiar with, there have been groups I’ve taken over where the selections were already made for the year; and there have been groups where the group members get to choose the selections so as moderator, I read the book along with the group members that month, not prior to selection.

What’s typical for you? Would you appreciate knowing that a book might have sex or violence or language in it ahead of time, or does it not matter because you read the books before you let them become official selections anyway?

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About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

3 Comments on "Moderators: Do you always read the book before the group?"

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  1. bspratford@hotmail.com' Becky says:

    I always familiarize myself with the books. If I haven’t already read it, then I read a lot about it. I end each meeting with a 5 minute book talk about the next book. If there is more violence or sex than usual, I always let the group know. They have told me they appreciate this. But we have also built up a trust over the last 10 years. They are willing to keep reading a book with graphic sex and/or violence because they trust that it will make a good discussion.

  2. mpond217@gmail.com' Marlene says:

    The co-leader and I usually have read the book before we suggest the book, but we have never not read a book because of the sex and/or violence. A few of our members have commentated that they didn’t care for the sex in a book. Discussion has not been diminished as a result however.
    I like the idea of doing a mini book talk for the next selection to the group and will try it.

  3. gary.niebuhr@mcfls.org' gary warren niebuhr says:

    I am in my 18th year of leading a crime and mystery fiction book discussion group and I never read the book before reading it for the discussion. This has led to an occasional thought as I am reading the book somewhere along the lines of “they are going to kill me!” However, this is not often about issues of sexuality–it can also be other issues. The worst issue for me is a book that came well praised in reviews turning out to be dull.

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