10 Ways to Lighten It Up for Summer

When vacations, families, and the great outdoors call, book groups can quickly take a back seat. Here are ten ideas to help your group avoid doldrums and dog days:

1) OPEN UP THE POSSIBILITIES

Instead of assigning a particular book, select a broad topic like mysteries, romances, or thrillers. When they have choices, your members may find it easier to squeeze a book into their schedule.

 2) LIGHTEN THE LOAD

By all means pick books that are easier in the summer months. That could mean shorter page counts or it could mean lighter subject matter. For a very light month, you could even allow your members to pick a short story.

3) PICK A SUMMER TOPIC

Beach books or travel stories make good choices in the summer when everyone’s mind turns toward a vacation, even if they can only take one on paper. Find out where some of your members will be traveling this summer, and pick a schedule of summer books set in the those locations.

 4) SPREAD A BIG BOOK OVER TWO MONTHS

Take a month off from meeting, but assign that big book that your group has always wanted to try. If you try this, send a few email tidbits about the book to your members a couple of times during the off month to encourage them to get the reading done. 

5) RE-READ A FAVORITE

Make your theme for the month the re-reading of a favorite novel or a return to a book that you read in your school days. Re-reading usually takes less time and if need be, you can always cheat a little by talking about an old favorite without re-reading it.

6) REVERT TO CHILDHOOD

Try reading a young adult novel or some children’s books for your summer meeting. While you’re at it, talk about the books that got you excited about reading as a kid.

7) CHANGE UP YOUR LOCATION

Take advantage of summer weather to meet at a restaurant with a patio or the backyard of one of your members. Pick a book that matches with your location.

8 ) TRY A FILM ADAPTATION

If a movie from a book is playing in the theaters, go see that one month. Go out for dessert afterwards and discuss the book. Or for an even easier approach, read the book one month, then watch the film the next month. If the movie isn’t in theaters, hold a screening at a member’s house or pass around DVD copies.

9) GET GRAPHIC

Graphic novels are usually quicker reading. Put together a small list of possibilities for different types of readers and have each member try one that looks good to them. Make sure you bring these books to the meeting to pass around, as looking at them is half the fun.

10) PUT THE BOOKS AWAY (gasp!)

If your group needs extra incentive to attend try putting the books aside for a month. Throw a party. Go out to dinner. Go out to a ball game. Share your vacation photos or plans with each other. If you want to stick to bookish topics, spend a meeting planning your schedule of books for the next six months.

These are a few of my ideas. Do any of your groups have summer meeting ideas that you’d like to share?

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On... Fantasy Fiction and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups.

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