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Suggestions for a Successful Book Discussion
One of the biggest hurdles in starting your own book club is moderating the discussion. Book clubs are all about sharing opinions and different perspectives, but it is important to keep your group from spiraling out of control. Here are a few helpful suggestions that pair nicely with any of our Borrow a Book Club selections!
- Consider limiting your discussion group to twelve people.
- Choose both a starting and ending time for the discussion. One hour is standard. Give participants at least a month to read the book prior to meeting.
- Choose one person who will prepare some discussion questions ahead of time and then launch the discussion.
- If you choose the book, show up for the discussion. Open the discussion with why you chose the book, and whether it met your expectations.
- Plan to finish reading the book several days before the planned meeting. This will give you some time to think about the novel before the discussion takes place.
- You may find a reading group guide pertaining to your specific book to be helpful. These are good sources of themes, character descriptions and questions to discuss. Many discussion guides can be found and printed from ReadingGroupGuides.com or from a publisher’s website. There is also a list of questions that will work for any book. Ask a librarian for assistance in locating helpful resources.
- Everyone should have an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas on the story. One person shouldn’t dominate the discussion. You may want to try a round table discussion format where everyone has a chance to speak.
- Avoid tangents and off-topic conversation that do not pertain to the book.
- Allow time for open discussion after reading guide questions have been answered.
- Some book groups like to add food to their meetings, or have the meeting in an interesting place such as a restaurant or garden, to enhance the discussion.
- A great way to end the discussion is to ask whether or not participants enjoyed the book, and ask how they would rate it on a scale of one to five.
- If your group feels unsafe or inconvenienced to meet in person, virtual meetings may be your solution. Zoom is easy to use and free for a 40-minute video conference.