The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience by Diana Loevy (2006) is invaluable, not just for a book club looking to choose books that are likely to be popular with the group, but to any of us looking for information about books that will hit the spot with us.
Here are some fetures in Leovy's book:
- Rules for running a book club and hints about how to choose the books you will read, places you might meet, and how to solve problems like pets who intrude.
- A list of ten books beloved by many of us, including The Kite Runner, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Memoirs of a Geisha
- The twenty indispensable titles that book clubs have loved, including Bel Canto, The Girl With the Pearl Earring, The Red Tent, and The Sparrow.
- Lists of "The Ten Indispensable Titles" in various subject fields like Classics, Memoirs, Black Literature, and easy reading, which the author calls "respites."
- Lists of books in quirky categories like Angry, Often Desperate Housewives (Brick Lane, Mrs Dalloway, The First Wives Club), P G Wodehouse 101, The Essential Short Story Collection.
- Interviews with authors such as Isabel Allende and Alexander McCall Smith.
- Short but perceptive reviews of many of the books mentioned.
- Recipes to use for meetings with book themes.
- Much, much more.
I didn't "read" the book because it's not that kind of book - rather you leaf through and sample here and there. The copy I scanned has gone back to the library but I'm going to buy it, if only for the lists of US best-sellers for every year from 1920 to 1999.