Book Groups

I’m an Old-Fashioned Book-Group Leader — and Proud of It!
By January 15, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

I’m an Old-Fashioned Book-Group Leader — and Proud of It!

I have been given a label over my sixteen years as a book-group discussion leader: old-fashioned. I have also been told that my group will never succeed if I continue to lead in that manner. I have been told my group will become bored and membership will dwindle—that I will be out of a job faster […]

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Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 1
By January 13, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 1

The staff book group at Williamsburg Regional Library has been having a great time reading our way through the collection. In alternating months, we read fiction by an author whose surname begins with a selected letter (next month is G), and nonfiction from a different Dewey range. Each reader selects a title or two and […]

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Finding Hope in Dystopia: Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars
By January 6, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Finding Hope in Dystopia: Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars

In addition to talking about Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself with my Other Realms book group, I also recently led a discussion for Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars. I will confess that I was a hold-out on reading the latter book, perhaps unfairly, as I find myself irked by “literary” dystopian novels that get heaped with […]

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Great Books for Book Groups: What We Discussed in 2014
By December 30, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Great Books for Book Groups: What We Discussed in 2014

Our Book Group Buzz bloggers discussed over 100 books in 2014—not bad! From older books to newer books, from fiction to nonfiction, with even a few books for younger readers thrown in, they talked about (and shared their tricks for getting other people to talk about) a truly diverse array of titles. If you can’t find something here […]

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Discussing Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself
By December 22, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Discussing Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself

My Other Realms book group met this month to discuss Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself, the first in the First Law trilogy and his debut fantasy novel. For many this was an introduction to Abercrombie, who has been hailed king of “grimdark fantasy.” For those who want more information about this emerging genre, Abercrombie’s essay […]

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Tsardust: The Tragic and Romantic Appeal of the Romanovs
By December 16, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Tsardust: The Tragic and Romantic Appeal of the Romanovs

What is it about certain historical figures or eras that draw so much of our attention as readers? If one were to take a shelf of typical historical fiction and remove the books about the Tudors, it would probably shrink by half. Remove the books about Hitler, Victoria, Napoleon, the French revolution, and the American […]

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Drama in Levittown: An Inspirational Theater Story from the Suburbs
By December 4, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Drama in Levittown: An Inspirational Theater Story from the Suburbs

When one individual really cares, amazing things can happen in the most unlikely places. That’s one of the great messages in Michael Sokolove’s Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater (2013). Unless you live there, you probably don’t know Levittown, Pennsylvania. It’s not even […]

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A British Gem Is Back in Print: Barbara Trapido’s Brother of the More Famous Jack
By November 25, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

A British Gem Is Back in Print: Barbara Trapido’s Brother of the More Famous Jack

I’ve been anticipating the reprint of British author Barbara Trapido’s 1982 debut novel, Brother of the More Famous Jack, for some time now—and it’s finally here! I’ve read pretty much everything that Barbara Trapido has written and have written about her here before. I have found no one else to match Trapido’s wit, style, and uncanny ear […]

Posted in: Backlist, Book Groups
Time-Management Tips for Book-Group Discussion Leaders
By November 20, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Time-Management Tips for Book-Group Discussion Leaders

I’ve been involved with book groups since 1999. Some of them have been connected to bookstores or libraries, while others have been individuals meeting in one another’s homes. I’ve started a few from the ground up and taken over others when the previous leader decided the responsibility was too much. Being a discussion leader takes up a […]

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Humiliation Can Be Good for a Book Group
By November 18, 2014 2 Comments Read More →

Humiliation Can Be Good for a Book Group

David Lodge’s classic campus comedy, Changing Places (1975), introduced a game called Humiliation, which readers have been playing to their red-faced delight ever since. Players get together in a group and confess the canonical works that they have failed to read, scoring a point for each other person who has read it. In Lodge’s book, in which […]

Posted in: Book Groups