Book clubs are becoming ever more popular these days, and the library is expanding its lineup of book clubs for adults. Here are your choices (and you can do both) plus how the library can support your personal book clubs that aren’t associated with library programming.
The newest library book club is the Michigan Notable Book Club which we anticipate meeting maybe four times a year. It has had its initial meeting to discuss The Women of Copper Country which was a successful evening with four tables of participants discussing the book in small groups and then as a whole.
Coming right up is our second Michigan Notable Book Club on Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The first hour will be spent discussing Ellen Airgood’s book, Tin Camp Road, another book centered in the UP. From 7:00 – 8:00, the author will Zoom in and everyone can talk to her about the book they just discussed. To reserve a spot at the June 9 discussion, just stop in the library and talk to someone at the circulation desk or call (989) 652-8323. The book is available at or through the library. The Michigan Notable Book Club has appeal for those who want to be in a group where everyone reads and discusses the same book.
That is the opposite of how our long-running book club, Books for Lunch, operates. Books for Lunch is held the second Tuesday of each month at 12:30 in the Library’s Community Room. At Books for Lunch everyone has the opportunity to tell what they’ve been reading lately and there’s definitely some give and take in this format, but people don’t read and discuss just one book together. This is a great book club for those who want to build book lists for future reading and hear about a variety of books. And as for the “lunch” part, right now people are welcome to bring their own, but the library isn’t currently serving food. This group has had excellent conversation for over a decade now, and I’ve read books I would have missed without this group.
Take a look at our growing list of Book Club Kits for your own personal book clubs. These kits are checked out by one person, can be kept eight weeks giving plenty of time for your group to receive and read them and meet again to discuss them. Kits include eight “regular” copies, one large print copy and one audio if available. Furthermore, you can request that the library put together a particular book club kit for your group.
Here are a couple tips if you’re thinking of starting a book club (based on my own experiences with book discussions, social and professional).
1) Keep your group to a reasonable size especially if it is at people’s houses. Nothing wrong with any size you pick but pick it. Ours is 12. I know of ones with four and my cousin has one with 50. They all work but pick.
2) Everyone talks or has the chance to say what they want about the book. Some people will like it. Some won’t. Don’t take it personally. Use people’s comments as discussion points. And don’t interrupt when someone pauses to collect his or her thoughts. You might miss some of the very best stuff.
3) Be wary of “professional discussion questions” which in my experience can be discussion killers. Far more effective is asking everyone what moment in the book really sticks in their mind and why. It sounds general, but it really tends to hit all the important issues in any book. The canned discussion questions normally sound like there’s a right and wrong answer and you could flunk the quiz. You can do it without them! (But if your group is married to those questions, do what you do. Every group is different.)
4) Have a good time. Reading really is FUN-damental. So is talking about it.
Hope to see you at the Library next week for the Michigan Notable Books Club.