Skip to main content


October 21, 2019

Preparing for Book Group Meetings

Posted by Nan

Besides looking at discussion guides, what does your group do to prep for conversation about the book for your book group meeting? We posed this question to our readers, and you gave us some terrific ideas. Many thanks to all who let us know how they approach their discussions; as always, your feedback is much appreciated!

Shawna: "With a new author to our group, we frequently discuss the biography of the author. Their life experiences often provide insight to the author's approach in a novel."

Cheryl: "Our Sunken Meadow ORT book club has been meeting since 1972. Almost all the original members are still active and involved. We started as young mothers and have shared lifetime events with each other over the years. Our book club evolved from women with a common interest to family. We meet monthly --- during the summer, we have a planning meeting at Barnes & Noble bringing suggestions, book reviews, etc. Your site has been very helpful. We choose the books and the leaders. Years ago we would go to the library and do research there --- even looking up microfilm! Now we log on, and the world of research is available!"

Rita: "What our book club read the book! We do not like discussion questions, and many feel pressured when put on the spot. We just talk. We talk about what we like about the author and the book. And what we dislike. This sends us off on our own discussions. We recently read a Chris Bojahlian book about sleepwalking. That led to great discussions about family members who sleepwalk and other sleep disorders. Great meeting."

Cleo: "For each monthly meeting, I make a handout for the title we discuss. Having something to hold and make notes on, something to look at and refer to while the discussion goes on, is a helpful thing."

Kathleen: "Our group also preps by Googling the places, persons and things from the book. We find some interesting things to discuss this way."

Susan: "I lead a book group, so I research the author's bio and look for author interviews, particularly those discussing the book we are reading. Although I watch videos and listen to podcasts, it is not practical to share these at the meeting as we limit time to one hour."

Judie: "The discussion leader is the one who selected the book (and the group voted for it). She presents information about the author, critical reviews of the book and, of course, discussion questions. We always have an opportunity to say whether or not we liked the book or not. Many times after our discussion, some opinions change."

Donna: "I belong to several book groups that read the same book and then discuss it. One guideline that some of the groups have is that the person recommending the book must have read it. Some of the groups require the recommender to lead the group discussion, others let members sign up for the book that they want to facilitate. In one group, we have one person who gives background on the author, etc. and a second person who leads the discussion. Some of my groups meet in members' homes, some in our library, some in restaurants, some in Starbucks and some in bookshops. Many of my groups will carpool to hear an author speak about a book that we’ve read or are going to read. Sometimes we Skype with an author, and sometimes we are on a conference call when we can ask the author questions. Some facilitators bring pictures, maps, recipes, itineraries and any number of audio/visual aids. Sometimes we do road trips to a book location."