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How to Start a Reading Group

Learn how to explore the world of books by joining or starting your own reading group.
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How to Start a Reading Group

Want to make time to read the great books you've been hearing about all year (not to mention the ones you never got to last year)? Reading groups are the perfect way for book lovers to enjoy reading as well as the pleasure of each other's thoughtful company. Following are some guidelines and suggestions to help you get started.

As thousands of readers have discovered, a reading group is a great way to explore the world of books. Join a group (your bookstore might be able to recommend one) or start one of your own, and you'll find that getting together with other people to discuss selected books once or twice a month adds to the pleasure of reading, provides hours of stimulating conversation, and expands your horizons. Setting an "itinerary" for your journey of discovery is easy if you have a knowledgeable guide book. One of the best and most usable that we've seen is 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide by Erica Bauermeister, Jesse Larsen, and Holly Smith (Paperback: 0-14-017590-3 Hardcover: 0-670-84829-8). Women authors have traditionally been under-represented in buyers' guides and listings of great works, so this articulate, eclectic guide to a wealth of remarkable books is especially valuable. Intended for the general reader and including books from all publishers, it features descriptions of more than 500 books – fiction, nonfiction, biographies, and more.

The recommendations represent myriad opinions on a multitude of subjects and reflect the diversity of cultural and personal experiences women bring to their writing. Most of all, they celebrate authors who, through the power of their characters, their depth of introspection, their ability to create moods or open minds, have moved, informed, and delighted readers. To launch your reading group's journey, take a look at the books described inside, all published by Penguin USA and recommended in 500 Great Books by Women.

Teachers and readers are welcome to view or print copies of these online guides for classroom and reading group use. But they are copyrighted materials and may not be reposted to other networks, repackaged, or resold.

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