Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Choose a Book Club Book

I've been involved in a small neighborhood book club for just over a year. This has been a fun way to discuss things other than the normal talk of a small rural community, which tends to center around hunting, tractors, politics, livestock and oh, did I mention hunting?

So we've had an interesting time reading multi-cultural love stories, war-time drama, and how to cook like a French chef.

But we had come to the end of our list of books, and it was time to pick new ones. Because we've been a small group (usually no more than 4-6 people attend) it was easy to decide whether or not we might choose to read a book by the number of nods (or grimaces) when a book title was mentioned.

But this time, when the list of nominations was rolled out, we came upon some new dilemmas. As one interesting title was mentioned, we found it was only available as an e-book, with no print copies available. Most of us have e-readers, but not everyone does. Also, this one was not available from our (wonderful) library system.

Then we chose another popular title, which we were sure would have lots of copies available at the library, only to find out the library carried it in e-format only.

And one of the titles suggested is very popular, available at the library with lots and lots of copies, but over 100 people on the waiting list!

Because we are such a small club, we've never established rules for picking books. We've made some good choices over the last year, but also had a couple of clunkers. And of course, reading is very subjective, so not everyone will love every book (but of course that often makes for great discussion.)

So for those of you that have been in a book club - I'm wondering if you've run into any of these same problems. Have you established rules for picking books? For instance: Bestsellers, award-winners, on a book club list, achieving a certain rating on Goodreads, available at the library, etc.

Care to share what has helped in your selections?

As for our club - we did come up with the following books to read, and we are looking for more:

The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
The Winemaker's Daughter, by Timothy Egan
Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Chery Strayed

And, we decided that for our December meeting, we'll each bring a wrapped used book off of our shelves, as a surprise gift exchange. That should be fun!

For a complete list of the books we have read in the past year, check out my Goodreads Book Club list.

Please chime in with a comment, and share how you have picked your books for book club. Also, have you read any of our selections? Did we pick some good ones?

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