book clubs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10578/all en-US Book Clubs as Therapy http://www.wisebread.com/book-clubs-as-therapy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-clubs-as-therapy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/book_club.jpg" alt="Book club" title="Book club" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regrets, uncertainty, and conflict rarely surface during normal conversation. An in-depth book discussion, however, can bring to mind an enormous range of experiences and create a forum for previously unexpressed, unexplored, and unresolved pieces of your life.</p> <p>Many book-club participants love talking about symbolism, writing styles, and character development. I have enjoyed a different approach with my book club. Members compare and contrast their own experiences with those of fictional and real-life characters. From this dialogue, we can gain insights into appropriate and inappropriate responses to various situations, come to terms with past mistakes, get better understanding of family and work relationships, develop courage to tackle new challenges, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-book-club">How to Start a Book Club</a>)</p> <h2>Discussion Topics</h2> <p>We pick books based on potential for generating discourse rather than providing therapeutic benefits. We discuss topics that allow us to explore struggles emerge naturally. </p> <h3>Family Issues</h3> <p>Nearly any book you choose will bring to mind family issues; that is, most books will prompt discussion about parents and siblings as well as the growing-up years.</p> <p>For example, <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Cold_Blood">In Cold Blood</a></em> led to discourse about family circumstances. The story is the recounting of the murder of Kansas farmer and businessman Herbert Clutter and his family. No one in my group grew up with a picture-perfect family that became victims of violent crime. But, like the Clutters, you may have grown up on a family farm in an isolated area, away from neighbors who could have alerted law enforcement about unusual activity.</p> <p>In this case, the book selection served as a springboard to examining how immediate surroundings can shape family relationships, encourage or stifle growth, and influence life decisions. To a lesser extent, the depression suffered by the mother (Herbert Clutter&rsquo;s wife) was a starting point for conversation about mental illness and its effect on family relationships.</p> <h3>Challenges of Learning Disabilities</h3> <p>Many books have a protagonist who has an unusual outlook or way of conducting himself compared to social norms.</p> <p>One of my favorite picks was <em><a href="http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/curious_incident_dog1.asp">The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time</a></em>, the story of a brilliant but slow-thinking, socially awkward teenager who has been diagnosed with a learning disability. Painstakingly and painfully, he unravels family secrets: his mother&rsquo;s affair and disappearance; his father&rsquo;s murder of the neighbor&rsquo;s dog. I especially liked this book because, like the main character, I often miss standard social cues but detect meaning and deception in unusual word choices and subtleties of behavior.</p> <p>As a group, this book caused us to consider how learning differences affect not only the child but also the parents, their marriage, and outside relationships. We recognized that advocating for your child is crucial but can be frustrating and confusing, especially when positive results are not guaranteed.</p> <h3>Overcoming Economic and Cultural Influences</h3> <p>Most books have a main character and a supporting cast who face obstacles or a series of challenges caused by outside influences.</p> <p>In <em><a href="http://www.bookbrowse.com/reading_guides/detail/index.cfm?book_number=332">Memoirs of a Geisha</a></em>, a young girl in rural, Depression-era Japan is sold by her impoverished father to a family that enslaves her as a geisha. My friends and I talked about the near impossibility of making the right decisions and extracting yourself from a terrible situation with no trustworthy counsel, no money, and limited information, all within the tragic convergence of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-plan-better-than-an-emergency-fund">dire economic circumstances</a>, cultural influences, and family betrayal. Though I have never encountered these extreme challenges, I could see how certain circumstances can temporarily interfere with life plans. Just as significantly, this story made me understand how others can struggle without a support system.</p> <h3>Inspiration to Make Life Changes</h3> <p>True stories of people who have made a world-changing difference are inspiring and revealing in terms of accomplishments as well as personal drive and sacrifice.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.litlovers.com/guide_threecups.html">Three Cups of Tea</a> </em>is the story of Greg Mortenson, who established a non-profit to build schools for girls in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This discussion took an interesting turn when one member expressed the desire to align her personal and career choices more carefully with her values. Family concerns had led to more traditional decisions, but the book influenced life changes.</p> <p>Other things that may come up:</p> <ul> <li>Breaches in relationships due to unresolved conflict</li> <li>Ways that people can change</li> <li>Personal cost of defending the less privileged</li> </ul> <h2>How To Encourage Therapeutic Discussion</h2> <p>To start a new group or reshape an existing club that can benefit your mental health while stimulating your intellect, consider these tips.</p> <h3>Talk with People You Can Trust</h3> <p>Not all book clubs will be safe havens. Those that offer support will most likely be comprised of friends or acquaintances who have proven trustworthy. Test reactions by sharing a small element of your imperfection. Shocked reaction reveals danger whereas elaboration from others means empathy; proceed accordingly. Sensitive information should only be shared with a close friend or a counselor.</p> <h3>Pick a Great Book</h3> <p>Choose a book you have read, loved, and think will prompt interesting discussion. Find sources of recommendations that you trust and prove to be reliable, such as book club recommendations or bestseller lists. Most selections will be novels, but don&rsquo;t ignore non-fiction.</p> <h3>Give Plenty of Time to Read the Book</h3> <p>Choose books a month or more in advance so those with busy schedules will have time to locate and read the book. Longer books require more advanced notice, as will more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">difficult-to-find books</a>.</p> <h3>Ask Open-Ended, Conversation-Starting Questions</h3> <p>Craft your own questions, find a list online, or use discussion guides printed in certain books.</p> <h3>Allow Tangential Discussion</h3> <p>Conversation will flow in a good and therapeutic book-club session. Questions should serve as the starting point for deeper reflection. Let people bring in related stories. These tangents may often be much more interesting than the book, just as truth is often stranger than fiction.</p> <h3>Bring Discussion Back to the Topic at Hand</h3> <p>Exploration is exciting, but too much &ldquo;me&rdquo; discussion is tiresome. Find ways to link talk back to the book&rsquo;s meaning or simply move to the next question.</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist and urge anyone with concerns to speak with a professional provider about treatment options.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-clubs-as-therapy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-work-habits-from-country-music">5 Work Habits From Country Music</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-book-club">How to Start a Book Club</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-even-shy-people-can-fake-confidence-and-get-ahead">10 Ways Even Shy People Can Fake Confidence and Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Personal Development book clubs book discussion groups therapy Fri, 25 Feb 2011 13:36:10 +0000 Julie Rains 493956 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Start a Book Club http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-book-club <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-start-a-book-club" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/book_club_large.png" alt="book clubs" title="book clubs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="206" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta content="OpenOffice.org 3.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Participating in a book club is a fun and inexpensive way to socialize, meet new people, develop friendships and enjoy your love of reading and books with others. If there aren't any book clubs in your area, you could be the pioneer and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/entertainment-value-start-a-frugal-club">start a book club</a> of your own &ndash; it's easier than you might think.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Decide when to meet</b>: determine how often your book club will get together. Some groups meet once a week, some every other week, and some get together once each month. Regardless of the frequency you decide on, you'll wan to set a regular meeting time right from the start. If your book club has ten members, it will be impossible to coordinate that many different schedules. Starting a book club with a predetermined meeting time (the first Thursday of every month for example), allows people to plan for the meetings in their own schedules.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Get the &ldquo;founding members&rdquo; together: </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">if possible, start a book club with two or three friends. Ask co-workers, parents of your children's friends, church members, etc. This simple word of mouth advertising may be enough to recruit all of the members to complete your club &ndash; and at the very least, the first two or three people who join your club can help you find additional members through their connections, as well.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Advertise for additional members: </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">if you don't generate enough interest from word of mouth advertising, or you have recently moved and don't know anyone, you can create a flier or place an ad in the local newspaper or Craigslist classifieds for your town. Try hanging fliers at the library, schools, your work, church, internet cafes, and bookstores.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Hold an introductory book club meeting: </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">you may want to have an &ldquo;open&rdquo; meeting for anyone who is interested in joining a book club. If you have more people than you want for your book club, you can always split up into two or more clubs. During the introductory meeting, it's a good idea to discuss ground rules for the group. For example:</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-weight: normal;">how will books be chosen </span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: normal;">where will meetings be held</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: normal;">will everyone take turns hosting and providing refreshments?</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: normal;">who will lead the discussions</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: normal;">is there a requirement for commitment</span></li> </ul> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Talking about these things now will eliminate potential problems later, and help people decide if they really want to commit to the book club.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Select the first book: </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">during the introductory meeting, determine the first book to read. If you're meeting weekly or biweekly, determine how many pages or chapters everyone should read before the next book discussion meeting. If your group meets monthly, you should plan to finish the book before you meet again.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-book-club">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-new-years-eve-party-on-a-budget">How To Host A New Year&#039;s Eve Party On A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle Art and Leisure book clubs book discussion groups how to start a book club Sun, 22 Mar 2009 03:59:37 +0000 Debbie Dragon 2948 at http://www.wisebread.com