By September 27, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Bringing Back the Buzz, Pt. 10

I continue my series of suggestions for groups in search of new ideas that will keep meetings fresh:


Sometimes a thoroughly organized venture like a book group can benefit from a side trip into arbitrariness. Try a random organizing principle for one meeting and see what serendipity brings. For instance, select a letter of the alphabet and ask readers to select a writer whose name begins with that letter or a book title that starts with the letter. Or pick a common word or concept (colors, place names, numbers, measures of time) that must appear in the title. Such meetings also provide a refreshing chance for your readers to have some choice in what they select, which for a group that normally reads a common title can be a nice break.


Book discussion is wonderful, but a little variety will make a steady diet of talk more palatable. How about trying an activity that is featured in one of your books as part of the discussion? Cook a dish as a group that is described in the book. Play a game that the characters play. Get out the arts and crafts materials. Bring in someone who can demonstrate a skill such as playing an instrument, dancing a particular step, or using a tool featured in the book. Work in a garden or take a walk in a local location featured in the book. Bring in a speaker familiar with an occupational field featured in the book. With a little creativity, you’ll find dozens of chances to mix such short activities into your discussion of books.


List making is a versatile and entertaining diversion for book groups. Your group could brainstorm books, authors, or themes that you would like to pursue in future meetings. Make personal lists of your favorite books, authors, or literary characters, then compile them and share as a collective Christmas present or commemoration of the group’s anniversary. Older groups might enjoy compiling a list of their favorite discussion titles. For a particular book, try making lists of your favorite moments in the book. Or have each member compile a list of “books we would read if I ran the book group.” As you talk about these lists, you’ll learn more about each other’s preferences and gain insight for future discussions and activities.

Jump back to Pt. 9, and through it, the rest of “Bringing Back the Buzz.”



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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