A few weeks back, a dear friend asked me for book club book recommendations. She’s not an avid reader, and she was feeling a little pressure … how to pick a book that would engage a group of women with diverse interests? How to choose a read that would entertain yet not offend? How to keep the masses from hurling a boring book at her while dining on brown-sugar-covered brie and white wine?
Whether you need a book to read for your book club or are just looking for your next page-turner, here are 4 tips for choosing a book club book:
Understand your audience.
What appeals to a 27-year-old new mother won’t necessarily appeal to a 55-year-old businesswoman. Eliminate any books that appeal only to a very narrow audience (gory horror books: not so much) and find a book with a likable protagonist, a brisk plot and the element of constant surprise. Those books where you just HAVE TO KNOW what happens are the sure-fire winners.
Determine reading preferences.
Does your book club like intellectual reads, or do they prefer a frothy distraction? Fiction or non-fiction? Does the group like a little controversy with their read, or is the book really just an excuse to socialize?
Be on the lookout for great books.
Watch for book reviews in your local newspaper, magazines and websites you frequent. I usually check the New York Times Bestseller list, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and People magazine (no judging.) Then I take a snapshot of the review and store it in Evernote for easy reference.
Check Goodreads (find me there at amymacpr) and Amazon reviews.
Don’t trust a couple of five-star reviews. Read those middle-of-the-road reviews. Those folks will tell you what they liked, what they didn’t, and why. Then you can decide for yourself if it’s a book you’ll enjoy.
Tell me … what’s the last book you just couldn’t put down? Why did you like it so much?
PS — My friend chose the book “Mudbound” for her book club. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you pick up a copy! Great book.