Reading Group Center

Group Talk

group gossip

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group gossip

· From Isabel C.:
“One of the ideas we explored recently was all of us read, literally, the same book and make different notes with a pencil so we could recognize each other comments and discuss them. . . . It was an excelent experience that we highly reccommend.”

· From Sandi G. of Pottstown, PA:
“We have a small group (5). About once a year we choose an author and each member reads one of her books. We’ve done Virginia Woolf, Anne Tyler, Jane Smiley, and plan on doing Willa Cather. These are fun, informative.”

· From Michele K. of Grosse Pointe, MI:
“Discuss personal aspects of the book–i.e. how you related to the characters, who you related to the most, any memories that were invoked by the story.”

· From Erin B. of Rock Island, IL:
“It’s fun to discuss the book from different characters’ points of view or to discuss how a certain character would respond to situations not in the story. At Christmas we draw names and buy a book for that person that we think they would enjoy but not buy for themselves. Then we report on our books in January. Fun and we find great books we might not have found!”

· From Zoë S. of Glen Rock, NJ:
“We discuss writers’ theme(s), style of writing, characterizations. We quote/read selections that appeal to us and say why we chose that particular passage.”

· From Dorothy I. of Port Townsend, WA:
“If we choose one author, we usually assign different titles and discuss the writing in order of the copyright dates.”

· From Anthony G. of Portland, OR:
“In our group, having a central question or theme that we can return to in the course of discussing each subsequent book has generated the most stimulating discussion.”

· From Mary F. of Saunderstown, RI:
“We pick one book each year that can be associated with a type of food (UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, A YEAR IN PROVENCE) and have a dinner with that theme. Each member brings part of the dinner.”

· From Valaree C. of Issaquah, WA:
“Sometimes we have creative games. Each person picks a character name out of a hat and then either describes or acts out the part. We have theme food for each book.”

· From Marf S. of Greenwood, SC:
“I am getting more interested in linking and comparing books that have a common theme. I’m one of the few in the group who prefers nonfiction, but if we do read fiction, I like to compare it to a nonfiction book on a related topic.”

· From Jamie A. of Iowa City, IA:
“Be flexible–some books take longer than four weeks to read carefully. Allow some ‘float’. We do this by e-mail. If a majority of members aren’t finished one week before a meeting, we reschedule. Also, take time to ‘break the ice’ and socialize before jumping right into discussions.”

· From Cheryl K. of Saginaw, MI:
“Books relating to social issues and cultural psychology such as OUR GUYS and REVIVING OPHELIA tend to be great for discussions. These can also be fiction such as STONES FROM THE RIVER or THE READER. ”

· From Diana L. of Brighton, MA:
“We try to discuss current events issues, politics, other books that are relevant to the book being reviewed. This was very successful, for example, with SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS–we talked about discrimination then and now, its impact on ourselves, etc.”

· From Judy R. of Cedar Rapids, IA:
“We try to select books that have multicultural points of view, and we have benefitted greatly. We enjoy the new perspectives and insight. We’ve read authors like Edwidge Danticat, Julia Alvarez, Amy Tan, Sandra Cisneros.”

· From Jodie H. of Salt Lake City, UT:
“Let everyone in the group get a chance to choose the book. Read something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Pick an old book and then do the rewrite (modern) the next meeting. Be honest in your discussions.”

· From Nancy H. of Champaign, IL:
“Have members make note of questions and observations on a 3×5 card while they are reading the book.”

· From Lea B. of West Chester, PA:
“If discussing a book leads to tangents, let them happen. Discussion usually returns to the book, and you learn that much more about the group’s members and often gain new insights into the book.”

· From Debi A. of Brighton, MI:
“We do not focus on whether we like a book or not. It’s about whether you got something out of it. We go around the room when we start and have everyone answer a question to get the conversation started. It guarantees that everyone gets an opportunity to speak.”

· From Mary F. of Indianapolis, IN:
“I think it is a good idea to stress the importance of marking passages and taking notes as you read the book–hopefully with the discussion questions already in mind. It is easy to forget things about the book if you haven’t taken notes. Also, it’s fun to hear other people’s favorite passages–how they responded to them and why.”

· From Susan M. of Dassel, MN:
“Let everyone choose a book. It really helps the group to get to know each other’s interests better.”

· From Jane C. of Collingwood, ON:
“Handing out the questions prior to reading the book and the discussion is most helpful in promoting more thoughtful, insightful discussion.”

· From Margot B. of Greenwich, CT:
“We have found that NOT having a leader not only keeps everyone in the group invested and involved, but also keeps everyone on equal footing and equally responsible for keeping things lively and moving. Plus, whenever our schedules allow, we go to author meetings and booksignings–great ideas for discussion come right from the author.”

· From Mary F. of Winchester, KY:
“I try to make sure that everyone in the group has a chance to tell their opinion of the book. Also to share in answering the discussion questions from the guide. We meet in different restaurants and homes for our discussions.”