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Another book group question: How do you choose?
Old 07-19-2020, 12:37 PM
  #1

I know some groups take turns choosing or assign genres to months, but all the book groups I’ve been in have chosen by consensus: we discuss members’ recommendations then just sort of agree. It’s very informal—we don’t vote or take turns. Then someone, often the person who recommended the book originally, agrees to be discussion facilitator for that meeting. My new group has already agreed we don’t want to plan a whole year’s worth of titles—we planned 3. The group organizer keeps track and sends group emails.

And how far ahead do you plan?

I’m already starting to worry that the outspoken members (and it may surprise you to know I’m not one) will run roughshod over the rest of us with their choices. As the group organizer, I was thinking I could say, “Thanks, Suziecue, since you’ve shared a book this year, let’s see what others recommend.” Do you think that’s too mean?

So:
*How do you choose your books?
*How far ahead do you plan?


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Old 07-19-2020, 12:38 PM
  #2

In my old book club each person took a turn choosing a book.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:47 PM
  #3

I am not in a book club, but my mom is. They meet at the beginning of the year and each member is responsible for suggesting a book they would like the group to read in that year. They make a list of the order in which the books will be read so that everyone know what books to be acquiring in advance. Seems to work well for them.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:52 PM
  #4

We’ve been together several years and we’ve done different things over time. We’ve made a list of genres and everyone was responsible for finding a book in their genre. We’ve had everyone bring a suggestion, thrown the suggestions in a metaphorical hat and randomly chosen one. We’ve just taken turns each month. We’re all so comfortable with each other at this point that everyone who wants to recommend a book does so and we discuss and come to a consensus.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:54 PM
  #5

I definitely think everyone should pick a book. We had 12 members. We assigned who would host each month a year ahead of time. (Of course you could switch if need be.) The book for the next month wasnít chosen until the book club meeting of the previous month. The next monthís host would come with the name of the book they wanted to read or a few if they werenít good decision makers.
It worked out really well, and then we had a variety of genres throughout the year.


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choosing books
Old 07-19-2020, 01:37 PM
  #6

My bookclub (which has been on hiatus since the first lockdown) plans books 2-3 months in advance.
Quote:
Weíre all so comfortable with each other at this point that everyone who wants to recommend a book does so and we discuss and come to a consensus.
The same for our group.

I want to add that two members of our bookclub rely on the library because of their financial situation, so we frequently choose an older book with several copies in the library system. Occasionally someone has a copy of a recently published book and has already read it, and can lend it to them.

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As the group organizer, I was thinking I could say, ďThanks, Suziecue, since youíve shared a book this year, letís see what others recommend.Ē Do you think thatís too mean?
I wouldn't start out by saying that, but if Suziecue starts pushing, I think it is acceptable to let her (and everyone else) know that everyone has a say.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:06 PM
  #7

We take turns, alphabetically by first name. Sometimes the person just chooses, other times they may have a couple of choices and do a poll on our Facebook group. We meet about every month and a half and choose the next book in the week after our previous meeting.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:22 PM
  #8

Quote:
I was thinking I could say, “Thanks, Suziecue, since you’ve shared a book this year, let’s see what others recommend.” Do you think that’s too mean?
I don't think that's too mean. I'm in a bookclub that's just like PoohBear's, where we've done different methods over the years. And when deciding on a book, "Well, since we did Suziecue's book last time, why don't we do SallyJo's this time?" has definitely been a factor.

Quote:
I want to add that two members of our bookclub rely on the library because of their financial situation, so we frequently choose an older book with several copies in the library system.
We've taken that into consideration as well, as well as whether it has an audiobook or ebook version.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:26 PM
  #9

Quote:
I wouldn't start out by saying that, but if Suziecue starts pushing, I think it is acceptable to let her (and everyone else) know that everyone has a say.

Thatís what I meant. Sorry I was unclear. Iím laughing because I just canít imagine saying that to her unless she starts pushing again. And honestly, someone in the group may do it for me if necessary. Iím thinking that since, as I reflected after the meeting, I felt rather bulldozed by 2 of the women, so Iím thinking others must have felt the same way. I could be wrong, Iím trying to anticipate problems so we have fun and run smoothly. Itís so much easier in person; for me, Zoom makes easy interaction harder.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:30 PM
  #10

We choose two months out. So last month, we picked August's book and today we chose September's. We have a google doc spreadsheet where members can type in suggestions at any time. At the end of our meeting, we look at the suggestions and just collectively decide what sounds good.

A big part of it is based on what's available at the library with not too long of a wait list. I'm really glad for this because I'm way too cheap to purchase books when they're free at the library! If something has a super long wait list we skip it. Today we didn't have many suggestions ahead of time so we actually looked up "book club books 2016" to see what might be good but also is old enough to be more available at the library. We came up with several ideas to add to the spreadsheet for future months.

Usually someone just volunteers to host for the next meeting. We don't really have any "take over" personality types so it's never really been a big deal. I don't prefer hosting but I sign up sometimes because I feel like I should do my part. The host is in charge of bringing some questions and also picking a place to meet. For now, that's zoom so that part is taken out of the equation. We used to go to restaurants that were sometimes themed with something from the book or occasionally people's houses.


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Old 07-19-2020, 02:56 PM
  #11

At the beginning we would just come to a consensus each month. Several years we changed Hy-Vee we're each assigned a month. That person chooses the book, leads the discussion, and (most importantly) provides the snacks.😊 The organizer reminds us a few months ahead so we can be thinking about our choice. We also swap months when necessary.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:13 PM
  #12

In about March of each year, we each bring the titles of 2 books that we think our Book Club would enjoy. At that meeting, we talk a little about the books, we take the titles away, do a little research and at the next Book Club, we vote on which of the two books we'd like to read. Then we decide the order.

In non-Covid times, the person whose book it is hosts the party providing the main dish and everyone else brings the appetizers/sides/dessert. Now, in Covid times, the book chooser is the facilitator of the Zoom meeting.

We used to choose the book at the end of each meeting but we were all quite tired and had had a lot of wine so the book choices were less than stellar. It also made it difficult for those of us who use the public library because there have been times that I've had to wait 3-6 months for a book to come in. Now, we know ahead of time what books we're going to read.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:17 PM
  #13

In my book club, I ask everyone to come to our discussion with a possible "next book" After our discussion we talk about our choices and all pick one. Sometimes if one person in particular hasn't chosen a book, we'll choose her pick.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:49 PM
  #14

We try to keep it at 11 members, sometimes we have more or less. Each member has a month to select a book and host the group. (Wine and snacks provided by the host.) In December, we donít discuss a book. We have a dinner and go over our selections. Everyone tries to bring at least 2. Thatís really just to avoid having duplicates. If we have less than 11 members we may select to take a month off. If we have more someone volunteers not to host that year. Usually, itís someone with a big life event like a new baby or a wedding coming up.

This year has been different. Weíve been having Zoom meetings. Not as much fun.
The group organizer hosts the December dinner. Iím send the emails.

This year one of the membersí husband purchased the books on our list as a Christmas gift for her!
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:56 PM
  #15

Quote:
This year one of the membersí husband purchased the books on our list as a Christmas gift for her!
Thatís the best story Iíve heard all month. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:44 PM
  #16

There are only 4 of us as core members of our club. We choose books by our first names in alpha order. To be kind to our budgets, we tend to choose books that are a year or 2 old so they're easier to get at the library or a used bookstore.

Within a few days of our meet up, the next chooser sends out a link to each book on goodreads, usually 3 or 4 titles, and the 3 "non-choosers" vote. This way, the chooser can have a little power to sway the choice with her vote.

There have been 2 times in 5 years when we'll table book club for a few months if one (or more of us) has a lot going on. One time was one of us dealing with a chronically ill husband having medical issues. Another was when 2 of us had new job descriptions that made back to school season crazy. We are friends and still met up for lunch, but didn't worry about making it a book club lunch.
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:50 PM
  #17

We don't really schedule who chooses the books. Our book choices happen organically. Since it takes us forever to finish discussing the book (for example, our current book we spent 6 meetings on and they last a good 3 hours), we usually have one a month. We just finished talking about June's book so we have July to read the one for August. That sound really confusing when I type it out.
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:19 PM
  #18

Usually book titles are pitched and accepted. Only occasionally is one not picked up. I do think a good rule is to not allow more than one choice by an author. Most book club members are readers and will "follow" an author they enjoy.
Sometimes we have three or four months planned ahead, sometimes more, the titles seem to come in waves. A couple of us try to check Goodreads and Kirkus before suggesting titles. It's nice to read reviews.
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:10 PM
  #19

My one group that has been meeting has been all over the board with how we select books.

At one time we mapped out the year with our selections. That was when we met every other month and took summers off. That lost its appeal because we often passed up new releases that members wanted to read.

We always end our discussions with different titles that we all are reading, some as suggestions and some as just FYI. We usually choose our next book from that discussion. Someone takes notes and sends out the suggestions in an email so that we can all get different ideas of what to read on our own.

Our group is pretty large, 18 on the roster. We have basically 3 different types in that club: just tell me what to read, these are some books that we might want to consider, and we should read this!

I only like to recommend books that I have read and that I feel have multiple perspectives from which to approach a discussion. The problem I have with that is that I reread a book so that it is fresh for the conversation. I enjoy hearing about a book that someone has already read and is on my TBR list on Goodreads or is on my Libby list.

I love it when I have my reservations about a book that we read and then the discussion totally turns my opinion around.
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