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08.16.2001

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by the book how to start a book club |  1 2 3 4
continued from page 3
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We take a fairly freeform approach with the book club Iím in Ė thereís not really a discussion leader at all, no photocopied list of discussion questions that we pass around and run through like a homework assignment. We frequently begin by talking about whether or not we liked the book, and why, which leads into more specific questions about how we felt about the characters, the story, the language, the central themes. Of course, if youíre the sort of person who demands more structure in life, there are plenty of resources that provide readerís discussion guides to go along with a wide range of good books. . Resources for reading group guides  
* oprahís book club 
* amazon reading group guides 

Also, check out the publisherís website for any book that you might be reading Ö frequently publishers will provide their own reading group guides.

o o o o o

What surprises me most about these book club gatherings is how the smart book talk Ė itself often very interesting, as we dissect character and plot and writing style Ė leads so often to tangents that are even more intellectually, and emotionally, fascinating. A gathering centered upon Andre Dubus IIIís The House of Sand and Fog gets us talking about racism in America, apartheid in South Africa. This leads to talk of religious intolerance, which transitions to Creationism, and its frightening influence on the science education of far too many of this nationís children. Evolution expands into biology transitions over to the weirdnesses of human physiology. And soon itís past midnight, and Iím talking to a group of women, most of whom I barely know outside of book club, about troubled ovaries and strange cysts and the difficulty of finding a good doctor when you move to a new town.

In a way, I suppose, the book club isnít so much about books as it is an excuse to get together for an evening of real talk. The best thing about book club, to me, is that itís one get-together where I know the conversationís sure to go far, far beyond the usual mindless, superficial chitchat.


check out these related articles: 
wine 101 | easy party foods | finger foods | kiddie lit for quasi-adults  

 

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