Book Groups

Unmasking the Phantom of the Book Group

Unmasking the Phantom of the Book Group

There’s a mystery afflicting several of my book groups, and many book-discussion leaders I talk with have the same problem. Might you have it too? We’re haunted by book-group phantoms—mysterious guests who sign up for our book groups, check out the book, and evaporate into thin air. We never end up seeing them! Stranger still, no […]

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Katniss Everdeen, Meet Kelsea, the Queen of the Tearling

Katniss Everdeen, Meet Kelsea, the Queen of the Tearling

I will admit, I am stealing that comparison from Entertainment Weekly, which has already made the connection between Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games (2008) and Kelsea Glynn of The Queen of the Tearling (2014). But while these two trilogies are not that similar—one is dystopian fiction and the other is a fantasy/science fiction blend—it is true that readers hunger […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Young Adult
Summer Reading: Historical Fiction

Summer Reading: Historical Fiction

The internet is awash in lengthy lists of summer reading. Overwhelmed? Here are my quick takes on two historical novels that make good choices for book groups or solo reading. In Wendy Jones’ The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals (2014), it’s 1924 in Wales and undertaker Wilfred is at a picnic […]

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You’ll Enjoy It When You Get There: Rediscovering Elizabeth Taylor

You’ll Enjoy It When You Get There: Rediscovering Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor the writer has often been overlooked, an unfair side effect of having the same name as a very famous actress. But “The Other Elizabeth Taylor” (which just so happens to be the title of Nicola Beauman’s biography of the writer) deserves to be discovered in her own right and this collection of short stories […]

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Read to Play: Seattle’s Summer Book Bingo!

Read to Play: Seattle’s Summer Book Bingo!

This summer, The Seattle Public Library partnered with Seattle Arts and Lectures to create a very fun reading program for teens age 16 and over, and adults throughout the city. It’s called Summer Book Bingo! Participants enter one of two prize pools by either completing their whole card by September 8th or filling out one […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Libraries
The Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies, and When Politics Gets in the Way

The Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies, and When Politics Gets in the Way

The Hugo Award nominees were announced earlier this month, and when the ballot was revealed it became clear to many that the Sad Puppies voting bloc had prevailed. The Sad Puppies, one of the worst self-chosen monikers in literary history, are a collection of authors that want to keep science fiction and fantasy old school. […]

Getting Them While They’re Young: A Book Group for Tweens

Getting Them While They’re Young: A Book Group for Tweens

Book clubs are a familiar sight for adults. They are gatherings, maybe of friends or colleagues, with frank discussions about a book and its meaning. But we shouldn’t limit that wonderful sense of belonging to just adults. What about a book group for tweens? I wasn’t sure if such a group existed until I did some […]

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Science Fiction Short Stories: Discussing Ted Chiang

Science Fiction Short Stories: Discussing Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is one of the most respected science fiction writers out there right now. But he is not prolific and has only written short stories and novellas. The Economist recently published an article on the reasons you should read his work. And with a film adaptation of his short story “Story of Your Life” […]

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Book Podcast: Breakfast at the Bookstore

Book Podcast: Breakfast at the Bookstore

Podcasts about books and reading are gaining in popularity. They are a great way to find new books to read for yourself or your book group. But podcast conversations can also provide the same kind of delights that a book group can provide—the joy of hearing another person’s perspectives on a book and the ways in […]

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Ghosh and Golly: All Asea over Sea of Poppies

Ghosh and Golly: All Asea over Sea of Poppies

It’s just like Gilligan’s Island, but the passengers are indentured servants and the tour is longer than three hours. Imagine if Eliza Bennett went to India with her parents and got orphaned there. This is 12 Years a Slave meets Eat, Pray, Love. I’m lying, and rather despicably. It’s more like one of the darker […]

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