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February 26, 2009

Hard-to-Find Book Club Selections Part II

Posted by carol
Yesterday reading group members shared stories of hard-to-find books. Today some readers offer advice on how to avoid the book-finding dilemma.

Book Club in a Bag
Our book club, The Pageturners, has been in existence for more than 18 years, so we've had a few occasions where we've had to search for multiple copies. But I have to say it hasn't been much of a problem because we try to keep availability in mind when we make a selection. Some of us are book-buyers, some are book-borrowers (from the library) and others are book-listeners (books on tape). We usually share the books when we need to.

Our library in Port Washington, New York, recently began a new program. They offer "Book Club in a Bag." They give 10 copies of a book with discussion questions and other materials. There are nine books to choose from, that they think are good choices for a book club. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss are some of the choices. We're trying to make arrangements to use the system for the first time next month with The History of Love, and we are looking forward to NOT having to find copies of the book on our own. ---Eileen Spinelli

Ask a Librarian
The Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City provides the books for our Southern Plaza Book Discussion Group in Bethany, Oklahoma. Anita Roesler, the outreach librarian, is a member of our group as a result of this project and she brings 15 or so copies of each book we are going to read the month before we discuss it.

We deliberately choose titles that have some large print and some books on tape so the needs of all of the people in our group. The books are assigned to two people, so they can share it and trade midway through the month.

At the book discussion group meeting, we all return our books to Anita and she hands out the books for the next month. We choose our titles three months in advance so we'll know that the books will be available in the quantities we need (sometimes a bestseller today will be off the bestseller list by that time, but the multiple copies have not been discarded yet).

Oh --- and did I mention --- there's no charge for this service. Check with your public library and see if they can offer this service to your book discussion group. ---Dr. Arlita Harris

Double Check
My book club voted to read only books that were out in paperback. This way we didn't have to spend $25 or more if the library's copies were unavailable. We also try to stay a few months ahead in the choice of books.

Never the less, somehow the next book we are to read, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, is NOT out in paperback and our excellent library has zero copies! I sent a memo to the hostess who chose it and she will try to get her copy back in time from the other member who borrowed it. In any case, I will not buy a hard cover copy.

My advice is to just make doubly sure the book is readily available before even suggesting it! We are reading for fun, not for a class. ---Lesley Fry, Scottsdale, Arizona

If you have any words of wisdom to offer on the topic, please post it in the comments section.