Friday, October 26, 2012

Shared Reading

If you visit the website of National Reading Group Month, you will learn that October is the month for “celebrating the joy of shared reading.” Those of us who enjoy participating in a book group don’t need a special month because each meeting is usually a celebration of thoughtful discussion, shared ideas and a good bit of laughter.

The Fauquier County Public Library is home to five reading groups. The Warrenton library hosts Great Books, which meets one evening each month, and Mystery book club, which meets at noon on the third Thursday of each month. The Marshall library has two book groups, one meets in the evening and one in the afternoon. The book group at the Bealeton library meets in the evening.

The Warrenton groups have a relatively narrow focus in their selections. The groups at Bealeton and Marshall are more eclectic in nature, not focusing on any one theme or type of book. Some groups serve refreshments, some plan field trips in conjunction with their reading, and some have a more serious demeanor. Despite these differences, all the groups share certain characteristics: their participants are interesting people who offer varying perspectives on each book; they choose a variety of material which provides the opportunity for learning new things; meetings involve stimulating discussions in which many interesting ideas emerge; a sense of camaraderie quickly develops among participants.

For readers who might wish to start their own book group there are a number of books with pointers on how to get started.

The Reading Group Handbook by Rachel W Jacobsohn and The Book Club Companion by Diana Loevy have good organizational tips and also many recommended titles for building an initial reading list.

A Year of Reading by Elisabeth Ellington and Jane Freimiller provides handy synopses, short author biographies and discussion strategies for recommended titles.

Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust and More Book Lust are chock full of suggestions for reading on just about any topic, in just about every genre.

There are also a number of websites for readers and book groups, such as Goodreads, Reading Group Guides, and Shelfari, to name a few.

Reading for pleasure is a joy, and sharing that joy in a book group has the added benefit of broadening our horizons. It encourages us to read things we might not have chosen on our own. It helps us to think about the things we’ve read in terms of another person’s feelings or ideas. It encourages us to meet new people and develop new friendships.

Whether it’s a gathering of 2 or 3 people or 20 or more, there’s something special about reading groups. We invite you to join one of the lively book clubs at FCPL, find one in your community, or start one yourself.

See you at Book Club!

Maryellen, with the help of Jeanne, Beth and Deborah

No comments:

Post a Comment