Picking a book for your book club may seem like a big responsibility, especially if the other members of your club haven't been coming forward with recommendations. Are you worried that your selection won't spark a lively discussion? Do you worry that everyone in your book club will hate the book? Second-guessing yourself can make the act of choosing a recommendation much harder than it needs to be. Luckily, you're not in it alone. There are a lot of resources available for finding recommendations.
- Know your audience - Talk to your club's members to see what kinds of books and topics will interest them. You may find that they like to read romance novels, or history books, or philosophy. Having an idea of the genre that will most appeal to your club will help you know where to start looking for your next recommendation. The best discussion comes from books that encourage people to step a little bit outside their comfort zone, but remember that your book club's participants will have nothing to discuss if you've abandoned that comfort zone completely.
- Check the best-seller lists - Once you have an idea of what your book club is looking for, start looking at some targeted best-seller lists that divide books up into categories. In addition to the New York Times Best-Seller List, a number of publishers are also happy to provide a list of their own best-selling titles. From there, you can find a handful of "finalists" for your book club's next recommendation.
- Find something to talk about - When choosing the next recommendation for your book club, remember that you'll need to actually discuss it at the meeting. That's why it's important to select a book that gives you topics to talk about. Fortunately, there are a number of online resources you can find that offer book-specific discussion questions. You can also find publishers that support book clubs by providing lists of recommended discussion questions for their books on their websites.
Finding recommendations for your book club definitely gets easier with practice. After you've had a chance to get to know what books your group prefers, you've found some best-seller lists that give you good ideas, and you've located sources for good discussion questions, the task is much less daunting. The good news is that even selecting a bad book for your group's next recommendation means that at least you'll have something to talk about!