By September 6, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Bringing back the Buzz, Pt. 7

I continue with my series of ideas for bringing excitement and variety back to a book group stuck in a rut:


I’ve written often in this space about the possibilities of reading plays for book groups. Plays are quick and fun to read aloud. If your group is shy, you can probably find local actors who would love to come in and read a scene, an act, or the whole play. Or check the calendar of local productions upcoming in your area and read a play before attending a performance as a group.


Another favorite book group activity that always works is to plan a theme night that focuses on a particular setting. Instead of reading one book, encourage your readers to bring a variety of books that connect to your chosen location. Bring maps, vacation pictures, and picture books to pass around. Play appropriate music as your readers enter and take breaks to set the mood. Add refreshments that evoke the place, and you’ve got a party every time.


In Changing Places, a very funny novel by the British author David Lodge, the characters play a game called Humiliation, in which they confess to some of the most familiar classics that they have not read. The winner of the game is the player whose literary humiliation is most complete. Try this game at the end of an upcoming meeting, but follow it with this kicker: each person in your group will be required to select one of the books from his or her list to report on at the next meeting.

You can find the link to Pt. 6 of this series here, which in turn leads to parts 1 through 5.



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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