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Getting Ready for your Next Discussion

An Exclusive by Reading Group Choices

Thanks to the many reading groups who have sent us your suggestions about making your discussions lively and interesting. We heard one thing loud and clear from many of you — a little preparation goes a long way! According to our recent survey, the group leader/facilitator and/or the members engage in some preparation in nearly 90% of book groups. Hopefully, some of the ideas below gleaned from your colleagues' experiences will help you to make your discussions lively and fun.

Another: “We always research the authors and books. Sometimes if there is something different about the book, we’ll add it to the discussion. We learned about Mah Jong when we read The Joy Luck Club."

“Lucile’s nature wouldn’t change. It would always be to praise and criticize and goad and condemn, ensnaring everyone into a constant dance of trying to please, running harder, doing anything to please Madame. Not only could she see the web; she could feel it, and she’d not let its sticky pleasures catch her again.”

“I’ve told you to look for opportunity, Dear Tess. Keep Your Head up, not down. Don’t settle for safety. Push forward – you are not foolish to try.”

Still another: “We have found that it is necessary for at least one person to have read the book before recommending it for discussion. Some books are good to read, but not discussible."

Even bestselling author Barbara Delinsky rang in on this topic. “My group has a rule that a member can only recommend a book she has read, rather than pass on a second-hand recommendation – because each book group is different, with different makeup, different needs, different pacing, different types of discussions. We want to read books that will inspire lively discussion in our own group,” she says. Barbara has more advice and comments for reading groups her "1-On-One" with Reading Group Choices.

Several of you prepared food and drink to accompany the discussion. One of you stated, "something light (especially if related in some way to the title or author) can make things a bit more fun.” Another suggested how Reading Group Choices could help: “I would love it if you would provide recipes with some of the titles that we could serve at our discussions."

Great idea! As a start, we have worked with Capital Books, who has offered its Recipe for a Book Club by Mary O’Hare and Rose Storey at half price to Reading Group Choices subscribers until March 15, 2007! Recipe for a Book Club offers twelve lively months of suggested readings, featured authors, and menus and recipes to make each gathering of your book discussion group a joyous occasion. Make sure you enter the special code RGC07 when you take advantage of the offer. Click here to see what Mary and Rose suggest for February.

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