How does one facilitate a book discussion?
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I'm part of The Philippine Tolkien Society and we're currently holding an online group reading/discussion of The Hobbit.
We already have someone facilitating the discussion (she has a list of discussion points), but I wanted to ask you all for tips on how to enhance a book discussion.
I've never formally moderated a book discussion before and I'd be glad to hear of your experience :-)
When we have done this, it takes the form of brainstorming, where members call out adjectives: "beautiful," "vapid", "pretentious," Sometimes delightful disagreements start here. And I usually save the main characters for last. By this time the discussion is, more often than not, moving along quite nicely without me but if it isn't, we move easily into other questions.
Great idea, Cecilturtle, on doing even some basic background research to put the novel into context.
I should've qualified my remarks a bit; most of the groups I've done have done a bit of background research on their own. These are bookstore-based groups if that makes a difference. But of the groups I've talked with, many have someone do some research and yes, I think it is usually the person who has chosen the book.
Paperback editions of classics have an introduction in the books and many bookgroup-friendly modern novels have additional material included (i.e. author interview, discussion questions). Ballantine readers circle and Harper Collins P.S. are just two publishers who do this. Some groups tell me that they don't like to use the discussion questions as it makes them feel like they're in school?
What about the groups here? Do you use the extra materials the publisher provides in a book?