Reading Group Guides

Reading groups are when a group of family members, friends, co-workers, etc. choose a book to read then they get together and discuss the reading club books in order to deepen the experience. Reading group guides are increasing in popularity. These book clubs are encouraging people to read more. Being a part of a reading group is a great way to socialize and meet new people as well. There are many book discussion groups available for anyone wanting to get involved or they may opt to create a reading club of their own. A small group of people that enjoy reading will be enough to start a reading group. This group of people can be found by asking family and friends who enjoy reading to join. Another option to find people for a book club is to post ads on bulletin boards at libraries, colleges, coffee shops, and book stores.

After gathering a reading group together set up a time and place in order to discuss when, where, and how often the reading club will meet. Other things to discuss during this reading group meeting would be things such as favorite authors or books that would be great for the group. During weekly meetings the book clubs should get together and discuss whichever book was read that week. There are many online reading group guides that will help provide discussion topics for book clubs. Some reading group guide discussions involve viewing the book as a cultural artifact, as a work of literature, or relating it to personal experiences. There are literally thousand’s of book titles for reading groups to choose from. Many established reading groups have provided online reading group guides that provide reading group guide titles to some of their reading clubs favorite reads. Some great books for reading groups include:

Snow Falling on Cedars: written by David Guterson

  • This story is set on an island off the coast of Washington in 1954. A member of the Japanese-American community is on trial for the murder of a fellow fisherman.

Lesson Before Dying: written by Earnest J. Gaines

  • This story is about a young black man who is convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, while it follows the personal struggles of Grant Williams as he teaches Jefferson to be a man.

Crossing to Safety: written by Wallace Stegner

  • Two couples become friends in Wisconsin and this novel follows them through 40 years of friendship, children, success, failure, and illness.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: written by John Berendt

  • Although this reads as a fiction book the setting actually takes place in a secluded city in which an actual murder took place. This book contains all true stories within it.

Cutting For Stonewritten by Abraham Verghese

  • This story revolves around twins Marion and Shiva. This is a story of betrayal and love, redemption and compassion, home and exile. The story unfolds through a span of five decades in America, Ethiopia, and India.

A Small Gathering of Boneswritten by Patricia Powell

  • This story is about homosexual friends living in Jamaica and their struggles with love and serious disease in a homophobic, religious society.

The Poisonwood Biblewritten by Barbara Kingslover

  • A Baptist preacher, Nathan Price, and his family go on a mission to Congo in the late 1950’s. His wife and daughters are unhappy with life in the village and try to live life in Africa on their own until calamity strikes the family. This novel explores colonialism, corruption, and religion in Africa.

The Bellwritten by Iris Murdoch

  • The book starts with Dora, a wife set to return to her husband. She has to return to him in a religious community in which he is visiting. The book’s plot resolves around bells, one lost in a lake in the beginning and the other that was ordered and delivered but it’s not about the actual bells. It is about the people around them.

The Swan Thieveswritten by Elizabeth Kostova

  • This book takes readers on a journey through the lives of the women left behind by painter Robert Oliver.

And Then There Were Nonewritten by Agatha Christie

  • Eight strangers are lured to an island in which a man diagnosed with cancer wanted to kill the guilty by sentencing them to death in his court.

Change of Heartwritten by Jodi Picoult

  • This book delves into organized religion and belief as well as taking the reader into the world of the death penalty.

Matterhornwritten by Karl Marlantes

  • A group of marines attempt to explore the jungles of Vietnam. The commander wants to overtake Matterhorn. His ambition is shattered when he and his platoon suffer from starvation, death, and disease.

Sarah’s Keywritten by Tatiam de Rosnay

  • Julia is asked to write an article, on the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the police, which in turn leads to hidden family secrets and the ordeal of Sarah.

The Help: written by Kathryn Stockett

  • This is a story about three different women that come together for a project that will put them at risk in a town at a time when lines define them.

Still Alice: written by Lisa Genova

  • This is a story about an independent woman, Alice, which is diagnosed with the early onset of Alzheimer’s. She struggles to maintain her independence and face the issues with this disease.

My Sister’s Keeper: written by Jodi Picoult

  • This is the story about a little girl diagnosed with Leukemia and her parents make a decision to have another child in order to save her life.

The Space Between Us: written by Thrity Umrigar

  • This is a novel about how women come together even when they come from different worlds.

Evening: written by Susan Minot

  • Ann is dying of cancer and as she goes in and out of consciousness readers can explore her memories, dreams, and regrets.

Boy in the Striped Pajamas: written by John Boyne

  • The father of a nine year-old boy is given an assignment which forces the entire family to move to Berlin. The boy in the striped pajamas is from a different world and they become secret friends.

31 Hours: written by Marsha Hamilton

  • A mother awakens knowing something is wrong. She hasn’t heard from her son in weeks. He is locked in a basement preparing to wreck havoc on the United States.

Possession: written by A.S. Byatt

  • This novel is based on two Victorian poets revealed in the present day. A trail of clues and letters is followed in order to attempt to figure out the past of the poets.

Haunting Jasmine: written by Anjali Banerjee

  • Jasmine is a divorcee starting over. She goes back to run her Aunt’s bookstore which is believed to be haunted.

The Scarlet Letterwritten by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Hester is to be publicly shamed for committing adultery. She does not want her husband to reveal who the real father of her child is but after finding out he torments him. Eventually the minister admits to his sin and reveals his Scarlet Letter.

Let the Great World Spin: written by Colum McCann

  • A tightrope walker is walking between the twin towers in 1974 as the town watches. In this book ordinary lives become extraordinary in this story of a town and the people that live in it.

The War of the Worldswritten by H.G. Wells

  • This is a novel about the earth being invaded by Martians.

Comedy in a Minor Key: written by Hans keilson

  • A couple agrees to give refuge to a Jew during World War II vowing to protect him. He dies of pneumonia anyway and now they fear having to face the consequences of their actions.

The Alchemist: written by Paulo Coelho

  • A Sheppard boy is convinced to pursue his dreams of exploration by a gypsy woman and man claiming to be a king. When he finally finds what he was looking for it is found in a place that he least expected.

The Art of Racing in the Rainwritten by Garth Stein

  • This is an uplifting, funny, story of love, loyalty, family, and hope.

Gabriel’s Story: written by David Anthony Durham

  • Gabriel’s Story is about the life of a youth named Gabriel who moves to Kansas with his family. Set in the 1870s the story follows him as he leaves his home and soon finds himself amidst an unruly group of characters.

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