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October 3, 2008

Book Club Makeover: Our First Group of Winners

Posted by carol
Last month we asked readers to let us know if they wanted a Book Club Makeover, a chance to have their group get advice from experts on various issues and problems that they were having. To date we have received almost 100 requests, which tells us that this idea really struck a chord with readers.

These past few days I have read through each of the submissions to select our first group of makeover candidates with an eye on selecting groups with different issues so we could touch on more than one topic. We will reach out to each of these groups by email and phone over the next couple of weeks to learn more about them so we can work on addressing their issues and bring them each an individual solution in the month of October.

Here are the three selected groups and their problems:

Group #1:
Problem: In a Reading Rut and Need to Liven Up Meetings

Susan of Stages and Pages from Portland Maine has a group that meets monthly, usually on the last Thursday of the month. They usually have a core group of 8 who show up regularly and have welcomed as many as 17 in the group over the years. Right now they have a temporary moratorium on new members. Their group adheres to a social time between 7:00-7:30 and then it's all discussion til 9:00. They are looking for serious topics that are uplifting and hopeful. Their favorite books have included The Power of One, The Virgin Suicides and Money: A Memoir.

Group #2:
Problem: Need to Get A Spark Back Into Our Discussions

Anita of The Bookies from Fort Morgan, Colorado has a group of a nine college-educated women from their 30s-70s that meet monthly on Thursday evenings. They have been together for ten years, with five women who are among the original members. According to Anita, "To quote Debra Linn (one of our regular bloggers) more and more 'our discussions feel like deja vu.' We read fiction, nonfiction, short stories and a play or two. We take turns choosing selections and facilitating discussion. We need help getting a spark back into our reading experiences and discussions."

Group #3:
Problem: Keeping Members and Keeping Discussions On Track

Christie of Changing Chapters from Wisconsin Rapids, WI has a group of twelve members, which has been together for ten years. They meet on the third Wednesday of each month. They have social time from 6:30-7:00 and then start their discussions, which last til 8:30. Each discussion usually has about 6 members who come on a regular basis. Each member picks a book, hosts at her home with refreshments and leads the discussion including research on the author and history of the book. They read both fiction and nonfiction. They have a problem with attrition as new members often join and then just stick around for a few months. Picks are often not read by all members. Discussions veer off topic and if the book is a real dud not much discussion takes place.

Feel free to share your ideas on how your group may have overcome these same issues with your comments on this blog. We look forward to bringing them our own ideas and suggestions in the weeks to come!

Please note that you still can enter to be selected for a makeover for November here if you have not shared your information with us. Those already entered still may be considered so there is no need to re-apply.