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Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Discussion Books: ARRT Book Club Study Notes and 2018 Schedule Announcement

Before the year is closed out, I wanted to have a post wrapping up the 2017 ARRT Book Club Study and introducing the 2018 schedule.

On November 9th, Megan hosted the final ARRT Book Club Study of the year where we discussed The Mothers by Brit Bennett. And Greta hosted the Leadership Discussion on how to discuss books with sensitive issues. You can read the details including the notes on both discussions here.

Don’t forget that we have an entire website for all of the ARRT Book Club Studies with notes on our discussions of the books and the notes on each leadership topic. You can always go there to see the latest news or view old discussion notes as a preview to help you run your discussions.

Speaking of preview....

We have set the first three book discussions for the year and it is a very exciting lineup. From the homepage:
2018 Discussion Schedule:
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid will be held at Indian Prairie Public Library on Tuesday, January 23rd from 2:00-4:00 
  • A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev will be held at the NAPER BLVD branch of Naperville Public Library on Wednesday, April 25th from 2:00-4:00.                                                 *Please note- Sonali Dev will join us for the second half of our discussion. 
As you can see here Exit West is our first discussion, led by Jennifer. When Jennifer came to me with a list of choices for titles, I immediately jumped on Exit West. I recently completed it and it will be in paperback this spring. It was on all of the 2017 Best Lists, so it is going to be a book in heavy book discussion rotation once the paperback is released. It makes for the perfect training discussion title because it will give the 17-25 people we usually have at these meetings a chance to preview discussing it.

Exit West also lends itself nicely to the discussion topic posted here:
The Leadership Topic, led by Elizabeth Hopkins, will focus on discussing "best" books. "Best" books refers to either award winners or popular book club picks. Please come ready to share one "best" book that worked for your book club or one that didn't! Also, remember that you can always bring any problems or concerns you have with your group, no matter the topic, so we can all help each other.
People always want to do the “best books,” so together we are going to talk about these titles and which ones make for the best discussions. As a group we will be creating a bibliography of titles you can consider for your groups. They will be available to everyone similarly to this valuable list the Book Club Study made of “Under the Radar Titles.”

The second book and discussion topic have also been chosen. Since we will be beginning the two year ARRT Romance Genre Study this coming February, we knew we wanted to discuss a romance. As you can see above, we will be doing Sonali Dev's new book, A Distant Heart. After we discuss the book, Sonali will be joining us as I facilitate the leadership discussion on using romance in book discussions. I am very excited about this topic because it used to be that romance was a “no go” for book discussions, but that is no longer the case. Sonali is not only a wonderful writer, but also a huge advocate for the genre, a huge supporter of ARRT and an active patron of the Naperville Public Library. We are so excited to include her in this discussion.

I will post more about the Romance Genre Study after the new year so those of you who are interested can learn more, but if you can’t wait, click here for the full schedule and the first assignment.

As you can see above and on the site we also have a date and a book for the third discussion [a Graphic Novel!] but no leadership topic. We are holding off on the leadership training topic in order to poll attendees on what they want to talk about. We are still figuring out the Fall book and date. But, in the meantime, if you can join us, try to schedule time to attend the first three meetings ASAP. And for those of you following from home, all notes will be posted on the Book Club Study page and here on RA for All. They can be pulled up with all of the book discussions I am a part of using the Book Discussion Books tag.

Finally, after being the person in charge of the transformation of this entire program from just a chance for book discussion leaders to participate in a discussion to a quarterly training and support group, 2017 marks my end as the Book Club Study’s Coordinator. I am stepping back to assist Elizabeth as she takes over the day to day operations and administration of this program.  During 2018 I will be there to support her and train her assistant, Bill. I am so proud of the two of them, former students who have joined the ARRT Steering Committee. They are both excellent book discussion leaders who are thoughtful and willing to think outside the box while still holding true to what a book discussion is meant to be.

I am excited to keep being a part of this program, but I am more excited to watch them run it. I can’t wait to see how they make it even better going in to the future. They have been there from the start, taking leadership roles and are poised to keep this program going without stagnating. But don’t worry, I will still update all of you here on RA for All. I know many of you use our notes to help run your book clubs. Plus, I plan to go to as many of these meetings as I physically can.

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