- If you subscribe, I want you to know how to access the info I will be summarizing below.
- If you don’t subscribe, I want you to at least have access to the bare minimum of information that can help you and encourage you to contact me privately for more if you want it.
The first piece was my second in the Book Discussion First Aid series on NoveList. Here is the title of the article and the intro:
Book Discussion First Aid: Try Something New
Book discussion groups are a lot of fun… until they aren't. Anyone who has led a group for more than a few years knows exactly what I mean. After 18 years of facilitating book discussion groups and helping others to improve theirs, I have a few tips to share on how to re-energize your book club.
I have broken up these "new" ideas into four general areas. Determine which gets the best response and keep the others in reserve because you don't want to try everything I mention here at once. Shaking things up a little is good, an earthquake is bad.If you want to access this article, use the “Especially For” tab at the top, then choose "Readers' Advisory.” If you scroll to the bottom you will see the section for "Book Clubs.” I have included a screen shot of that section and have added an arrow on where you should click, “Book Group Innovators.” Clicking on "Book Discussion First Aid" will only bring up my first piece [which is also good, but not new]. You can scroll through all of the excellent “Book Group Innovators” content but it loaded most recent first, meaning right now, my article is at the top.
If you are not a subscriber, and would like some more information on this article, contact me.
The next 5 pieces are lists of six books each. I proposed the idea of these lists to my editor, Krista. There weren’t really any “Grab and Go” list options for book club leaders. I offered to come up with 5 lists of 6 books to get things going. I came up with a theme for each list and then provided 6 inclusive titles with original annotations.
I demanded of myself that each list was inclusive both from a diversity standpoint, but also a genre and one too. I want these lists to help actual book groups have access to lists of possible titles that are not the ones everyone is doing or suggesting.
I hope to do 5 more lists this month and then we will see how it goes from there.
In terms of finding these lists on NoveList, if you are a subscriber, simply search any of the titles listed below and under the “Lists and Articles” tab in that title’s record you will have access to the full list containing this title. That access will include my annotation. So for example, when you search The Wangs Vs The World, as seen in this screen shot, under “Readers’ Advisory” you will see the list title, “Happy Discussable Books for Adult Book Groups,” and it will pull up the entire list of 6 titles for you.
Here on the blog, below, I have provided the name of the list and my description of what I intended in making that list as well as the titles included. My annotations for each title on NoveList mention specific discussion points and/or reasons why I included the title, but at least those of you without a subscription can see the titles I included.
I am very proud of this new content and know it will help you help readers both those who are in a book group [yours or their own] and simply those who are looking for a good read. If you have an idea for a themed list you would like me to create, contact me and let me know. I will be doing as many of these as I have ideas for in the coming months.
Great Middle Grade Reads for Adult Book Groups
Many adult book discussion group give YA titles a try, but today’s middle grade level is also a great resource for a book club that wants to try something different. This list of six recent titles are award winning, compelling, thought provoking, and fun to read. They will lead toward dynamic and issue driven discussions that will inspire, surprise and delight even the most high-brow groups.
- Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book
- Ryan, Pam Munoz. Echo
- Reynolds, Jason. As Brave As You
- Palacio, R.J. Wonder
- Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello Universe
- Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree
Happy Discussable Books
You do not have to break down in a weeping pile of despair in order to have things to discuss in book club. While these books do not eschew serious issues, all end in a heartwarming fashion with the characters in a much better place than when the story began.
- Simonson, Helen. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
- Stuart, Julia. The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise
- Chang, Jade. The Wangs vs. the World
- Hoang, Helen. Kiss Quotient
- Jonasson, Jonas. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
- Ajayi, Luvvie. I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual
Short Discussable Titles
I am not sure when it was decided that a book needed to be able to fill in as a doorstop in order to be considered book club worthy. Here is a list of books, each made up of fewer than 250 pages, but all containing enough ideas to fuel any length discussion from start to finish.
- Jiles, Paulette. News of the World
- Morrison, Toni The Bluest Eye
- Mankell, Henning. Italian Shoes
- Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: The Story of One Name and Two Fates
- Clement, Jennifer. Prayers for the Stolen
- Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Nonfiction for Fiction Book Clubs
Many groups that focus on fiction want to give nonfiction a try but are wary that they will have to sacrifice a narrative in the process. The following six titles present true occurrences in a style that puts storytelling at the forefront while still dispensing truth.
- Millard, Candice. River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
- Moore, Kate. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
- Gordon-Reed, Annette. Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
- Tolan, Sandy. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
- Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
- Obmascik, Mark. The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and A Fowl Obsession
Off the Radar Gems
Is your group done with reading all of the new, trendy book club group titles? There are plenty of discussable reads lurking just under the book club radar, that will surprise and inspire, not to mention provide plenty of fodder for the group discussion.
- Lansens, Lori. Rush Home Road
- Jones, Edward P. The Known World
- Dennis-Benn, Nicole. Here Comes the Sun
- Henirquez, Cristina. The Book of Unknown Americans
- Sa'dawi, Ahmad. Frankenstein in Baghdad
- Jones, Stephen Graham. Mongrels