Resources for Reading Groups

Reading groups have been a part of American life since colonial times. They will probably continue to pop up as long as books are published. Some reader somewhere will feel a keen impulse to share his/her excitement about a particular book – or with book-reading in general – with other readers, and eventually the critical mass necessary to form a reading group will again emerge.

Although it takes only two people to make a pact to read and discuss books together, most groups involve several individuals.

Luckily, there are several excellent handbooks on the market that can help steer a newborn or about-to-be-born reading group toward success.

Although you might want to scan the Amazon reviews for each of these titles before making a purchase – or tracking it down via your local public library – these resources are listed here in most-recently-published order:


On Reading Groups

“For most people, what is so painful about reading is that you read something and you don’t have anybody to share it with. In part what the book club opens up is that people can read a book and then have someone else to talk about it with. Then they see that a book can lead to the pleasure of conversation, that the solitary act of reading can actually be a part of the path to communion and community.” – bel hooks

FaceBook Changing the Face of Online Reading Groups?

Although many readers regard reading as a decidedly solitary activity and cherish their time alone with their books, others have found joining a local reading group also enjoyable.

And although most reading groups are decidedly local affairs, the Internet spawned more than a few online reading groups, where people who might not ever meet each other face-to-face can enthuse over books that widely separated members are reading simultaneously.

Fast forward to late 2008, when FaceBook – one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of Internet users on the planet – partnered with an independently-owned San Francisco-based firm to create FB’s Book Club feature.

Over 6,000 FB members have signed up since then –  some to discuss books online, others just to harvest popular or enthusiastically-recommended titles.  We don’t know for sure, but we guess the number of people participating in FB’s Book Club probably dwarfs the aggregate number of people participating in other online platforms dedicated to discussing books. 

To find out more about FB’s reading group feature, you might want to first read this press release. Then, if you’re a FB member, search the network for the Book Club feature (an “application” in FB lingo).

And let us know how any experiment you do with FB’s Book Club goes!

Found at iLibrarian via the OPLIN4Cast

Atlanta’s 100-Year-Old Reading Club

Reading would be a lot less wonderful if we couldn’t share our discoveries and discuss them with other readers. Countless readers have joined organized reading groups to exploit this persistent urge to share with others our reading enthusiams.

Earlier this month, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a story about one such local group, distinctive because it’s been in existence for over a century now. Read the story.

Contributed by Ponce staffer Leticia Stinson