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Discussion Starters

Some people think books should be read in silence. Others want to share their latest literary treasure with anyone who will listen. If you fall in the latter category, a book discussion group may be just the outlet you need.

So where does a bibliophile find a group? Local libraries and book stores are a good place to start. If you prefer the Internet experience, plenty of online discussion groups are looking for new members:

Getting Started

You found a group -- now what do you talk about? First, make sure that everyone understood the story. Then try topics like the author's purpose (what did the writer want readers to get from the book?), characters' actions (why did they do certain things, and did you agree with them?), comparison (how does the book compare to others written by the author?) and resolution (were you happy with the book's ending?)




Another helpful resource for sparking conversation is the publisher. Here's a quick list of where to find discussion guides from several major publishers. In addition to discussion questions, they generally offer information about the book and its author.

  • HarperCollins
    Includes best-sellers like "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb and old favorites like "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley.

  • Simon & Schuster
    Contains everything from new releases like "Snark" by David Denby to masterpiece memoirs like Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes."

  • Hachette Book Group (Time Warner)
    Covers everything from self-help wonders like "100 Ways to Simplify Your Life" by Joyce Meyer to Oprah faves like "White Oleander" by Janet Fitch.

Also worth a look:
  • Vintage Books
  • Random House
  • Morton Grove (Ill.) Public Library's Thinking Out Loud




   --- R.M.

 
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