MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Five Debut Novels to Discuss With Your Book Club

It's always exciting to encounter a debut novel that you really love. It's a great experience to be there from the beginning and then follow an author over the course of their career, watching their voice evolve and seeing how they might choose to experiment with different genres or themes in their writing. Reading a debut with your book club can be especially fun because you get to have this experience together. You might even talk about where you see the author going in the future, or what you'd like them to write next.

Here are five debut novels that that have recently been released in paperback, all of which received glowing reviews on BookBrowse. We have reading guides available for each and we're discussing two of them in our own online book club so you can compare and contrast your club's thoughts with ours.

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Anti-Racist Reading Lists for Book Clubs

Recent protests against race-based police violence have influenced many in the United States to begin educating themselves on how to be antiracist. These events may also inspire book clubs to hold valuable discussions about fighting systemic racism and to consciously read more books from Black authors.

But with all of the reading lists flooding the internet right now, it can be difficult to know where to begin. So we've put together some focused lists for different types of reading that you can use as a starting point for antiracism discussions and actions in your book club.

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Verily: Book Clubs 2020

Verily logoAre you in a book club or thinking about starting one? I was recently interviewed by the lifestyle magazine Verily about common book club misconceptions and BookBrowse's 2019 report, The Inner Lives of Book Clubs. Check out the article, which features insights and information on many book club topics.

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Book Clubs Without Books!

Kathleen recently wrote saying, "My book group is at a stalemate during the COVID-19 pandemic because it's hard for our members to get the next book. We read in print and most of us prefer to borrow books from the library, but we can't at the moment because the library building is closed. How can we keep our book club going?"

Step one is to temporarily move your in-person book club online. Our previous post, Safe Book Club Ideas in the Time of Social Distancing offers tips on this (and it's much easier to do than you might think!)

Step two is to find creative ways to keep discussing, even though you might not have access to the library. Here are 15 suggestions which will be particularly relevant to groups that normally borrow print books from the library, but most could be used at any time by any book club that's looking for ideas to keep their group fresh.

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Tips on How to Be An Effective Book Club Facilitator

A friend of mine recently contacted me because her in-person book club is moving online during the COVID-19 pandemic and she's worried about making the transition, particularly as, while she loves her group, their discussions have a tendency of devolving into friendly chit-chat at the best of times with people talking over each other and sharing personal anecdotes, rather than the meaningful book discussion that she hoped for.

I asked her if her group had considered designating a facilitator - someone who, generally speaking, helps the group get the most out of their discussions by being prepared, keeping things on track and making sure that everyone's voice is heard. She said they had, but that she felt some trepidation as to how to be an effective facilitator, particularly while also navigating an online discussion forum - did I have any suggestions?

Here are the tips I shared with her:

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Safe Book Club Ideas in the Time of Social Distancing

As we physically distance ourselves from one another to protect public health, staying socially connected remains vital to our sense of community and well-being. For many of us, book clubs are an essential part of that connection, and fortunately, there are a number of options for moving your in-person book club online, joining up with an online club or creating one from scratch. The COVID-19 crisis has even prompted some people and organizations to form quarantine-friendly public book discussions. So let's look at some ways you can enjoy books with others while staying safely at home.

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