We receive so many suggestions for how to make discussions lively and interesting, and there is an enormous variety! But the one common element from the years of suggestions and experience is: a little preparation goes a long way!
In our annual survey, we ask groups about meeting preparation, and nearly 98% of groups prepare in some way before their meeting (and to be clear – that’s in addition to reading the book!).
We hope some of the ideas below, which come from reading groups worldwide, will help make your discussions even livelier. There are a few unique ideas too that go beyond the last-minute Wikipedia skimming on our phone (it’s okay – we’ve all done it!).
Reading Groups tend to be an organized bunch, or there’s at least one of us in the group that is organized and handles the logistics. When to choose books might be a little less confusing than how to choose books, but it’s just as important.
In our annual survey we always ask our groups when they choose books, and we’ve received the same answers each year in the same order: Most groups (by a large majority) choose one book at a time to discuss, and a majority of those groups choose the book at the previous meeting or two meetings in advance.
There are so many ways groups can choose the books they will read, but how do you figure out what works best specifically for your group?
In our annual survey, which we send out to our reading groups, readers have listed a number of options for selecting books, and many groups said they had to try out a few methods before finding the right fit – kind of like Goldilocks!
Some groups might have members with busy schedules who don’t have time to host and/or prepare to lead discussion. Some members might be happy having the choices left to a committee so that they can just show up and participate.
A Few Tips for Successful Author Skype Chats!
1. Prepare questions for the author in advance of your meeting. You can use your own questions, and consider questions from Reading Group Choices and other sources too.
2. Meet 30 minutes prior to the Skype Chat so you can get set-up and comfortable, and ask each other any last minute questions.
3. You can choose to have a moderator with a loud clear voice handle the questions, or you can take turns asking questions. You’ll know what will work best for your group!
Bringing Together Book Lovers in Your Area
Reading groups form for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of locations. A group may be made up of friends, co-workers, parents, neighbors, or people who were once strangers. A group may meet at a bookstore, home, cafe, church, or park. But, no matter the reason for creation, or the space that they are held, there is one common factor: book groups are filled with people who love reading and talking about books!
While it is hopefully easy for you to enjoy your book group, it is sometimes challenging to start one.