Lite Review: The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience by Diana Loevy

October is National Reading Group Month and a perfect time to start or join a reading group. The author, who has a background in publishing and is an active member of several book clubs, has written a helpful guide that any group will find useful.

I love the following words from the author and share her belief in the benefits of participating in a book club:

“Being in a club makes the experience of reading deeper, more magical and – when you really stop to think about it – positively inspirational.”

The book is divided into nine chapters, each focusing on a particular genre/type of book. They range from Black Lit to memoir to Brit Lit to classic fiction and so on. Each chapter starts out with short summaries of 10-20 book suggestions that the author feels are indispensable reading. Also included is information about where to find discussion questions and other tidbits about the book and/or author.

Advice and tips about the following topics  are located throughout the book:

  • creating club rules
  • choosing titles
  • handling pets
  • inviting guests
  • hosting responsibilities
  • communication strategies
  • meeting locations
  • viewing film adaptations
  • special events and trips
  • club scrapbooks/portfolios

The author emphasizes the social nature of reading groups by providing recipes for themed and non-themed food and drink and suggested attire. For example, for a Bel Canto evening, she makes suggestions for the music and take-home programs and provides recipes for Fresh White Peach Bellinis and Hoskins Smith’s Almost-Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Other features in the book include interviews with authors and suggestions for short stories and tween book clubs. I especially liked the 20 New Year’s resolutions for book clubs that the author created as a tool to help keep groups on track.

A unique and fun feature, which must have taken a fair amount of research, is called “Time Travel.” For each year between 1920 and 1990, the author lists books published in that particular year. It was interesting to see the books being read during that time.

This book has something for everyone, no matter what your reading preferences are. There are many ideas and suggestions for creating a new group or enhancing the experience of the one you’re already in. The author uses humor to lighten the mood and remind us that reading groups/book clubs are supposed to be fun as well as educational.

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