Bringing Back the Buzz, Pt. 4

Here’s the latest in my series of suggestions for spicing up your book group:


We’ve all got them–for one meeting, flaunt them. Ask your participants to bring books that they love, but that they know aren’t the finest literature ever published. This is a particularly good choice if your group normally reads heavy, complicated books. Let your hair down for one month, and indulge your trashy side. Laughter is guaranteed and you may get to know each other better.


Is the grass always greener? Find another book group in your area, and for two months, meet together, one meeting on each group’s “turf.” Try to demonstrate a typical meeting in each case, so that you can learn from each other, comparing and contrasting styles. Add a section at the end where the group reviews some of the titles they have tried in the last year or two, noting how successfully each was received. For added fun, have the visitors bring in the refreshments. If your group has a consistent discussion leader, you might also try trading leaders with another such group once a year just for the sake of variety.


In this age of e-book growth, it wouldn’t hurt your group to support your favorite local bookstore. Look into the possibility of holding a meeting on-site, with time built in for your readers to browse the shelves and report on what they find. Or spend one meeting selecting titles from the store, the next reporting on what you found. Discussion the selection available in your favorite sections, or ask a knowledgeable employee in advance to highlight some of the stores features and policies that book group readers might like to know. One of the groups I’m involved in holds regular coffee klatches at the bookstore in the weeks between our book discussions. 

Read earlier entries in this series: Parts 1, 2 & 3



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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