Tips For Choosing Your Next Book Club Read
By Melanie Kindrachuk
There are hundreds of great books to read, and more new ones arriving every day. How does a book club decide which titles to read together? How do you know what will provide a great reading experience and a great discussion?
Of course, you can select titles through discussion with your fellow book club members, with everyone suggesting titles that they’ve read and want to share. But how can you suggest books that will be book club sure bets? Here are some resources to help!
Ask a Librarian
First off, you can always ask your librarian. Librarians are usually up-to-date on the newest titles, as well as knowledgeable about which older titles have been popular with readers. They are keen to talk about books and help you find something that ticks all your boxes. I can guarantee that sharing good reading is a highlight in a librarian’s day.
Check Library Resources
On that note, you can also check the resources that your local library has for book clubs. At Stratford Public Library we have created many staff lists of books on various subjects, whether fiction or non-fiction. There is even a whole set of lists of Book Club Best Bets, divided by genre. You can find all these lists on the Stratford Public Library’s Bibliocommons catalogue. SPL has even put together a set of in-house book club kits from titles that are heavily requested.
You can also find many suggestions for titles to read at various sites online. If you’re looking for Canadian books, both The 49th Shelf and CBC Books are great places to start. They both share book news and readerly opinions.
One of the biggest sites to look at if you’re focused more on American reading is Book Riot. The many contributors to this site discuss books of all genres and highlight the reading experience. You can also find a huge number of reviews of all genres going back more than a decade at Bookgasm. There are many book bloggers out there reviewing their favourite things to read as well; search for your favourite genre + blog reviews and you are sure to find someone who likes the same thing you do!
Check Out Book Club Sites
And last but not least, there are dedicated book club sites you can search for both ideas and resources. The best known are Reading Group Guides and Lit Lovers, both of which offer reviews, notices of new books, discussion guides, book club organizational ideas, and more. Don’t forget that most publishers will have newsletters you can sign up for to get the latest news on new books, and many of them include reader’s guides on their websites that you can use.
All of these resources, combined with your own reading habits, can help you make a great recommendation the next time your book club is deciding on your reading list.
Melanie Kindrachuk, a Public Service Librarian at the Stratford Public Library. She coordinates the Library’s book club program and specializes in Readers’ Advisory – matching up readers with the book they are looking for.
What is your choice for the best book club read?