Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Do You Pick Them?

There are a lot of people out there who have thought they'd like to totally join a boss book club like the one featured on LOST (see the photo of the high drama at left). Well, maybe not everyone would like to join a book club... perhaps you like to make fun of people who are in book clubs. None the less, my book club met last night, and I'd like to share a couple of resources with you all.

First off, my book club (which is organized by the local branch of my county's public library) spent the first bit of time trying to select our books for next year. We use a resource book provided by the fine folks at Reading Group Choices. I recommend visiting their site which is chockablock full of great things. They give you suggestions for great books to discuss with your cronies and provide discussion starter topics/questions. An example of one of their discussion questions for our book club last night (discussion of Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier):
"Read and discuss the poem from which the book's title is taken, 'The Tyger.' What is its significance in terms of the novel and the characters? Why do you think Chevalier chose a phrase from this poem for her title?"
If you'd rather not be hemmed in by the fine folks at that establishment, then I'm going to recommend that you visit another site which is used by my book club, Suite 101. They've got great discussion questions for you to consider... if you're too much of a snob (or have social anxiety disorder), you can still use their questions as a guide to your critical analysis/review of books you've read on your own. An example of one of their discussion questions for our book club last night is:
"Tracy Chevalier’s novel hinges on this comment by William Blake 'The tension between contraries is what makes us ourselves. We have not just one but the other too, mixing and clashing and sparking inside us. Not just light, but dark. Not just peace, but war. Not just innocent, but experienced,’ (127). Do you agree with Blake? Or do you believe that a person is essentially good or essentially evil with little of the opposite mixed in?"
That sparked a pretty lively discussion. Do you have other sources you recommend for book discussions or that you use in reviewing books? Do you hate book clubs and think people who go to them are nerds?

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