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How to Start a Book Club 
A story is always better if you have someone to share it with. What could be better than sharing it with a group of friends who have read it, too? Starting your own book club is an endeavor that we applaud! And we've made it easy to do with these tips and resources.
How to start a book club
Think about what your intentions are for your book club. Before you start looking for prospective members, sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself the following questions.
  1. Why are you starting a book club? What do you hope to get out of it?
  2. What type of people will make up the club? Are you hoping that all of you will have something in common (beside your love of books), or are you looking to form a diverse group?
  3. What types of books will your club primarily read? Fiction? Non-fiction? One particular genre, such as romance, bestsellers or biographies? Will you rotate through themes each month, like Asian literature, travel books or classics?
  4. Do you want to lead the club? If so, for how long, and how much time can you devote to organizing meetings, refreshments and discussions? If not, will other members be willing to take on these responsibilities?
  5. What are the minimum and maximum number of members your club can accommodate? (This may be dependent upon where you're meeting—see below!)
  6. When will your first meeting take place? How often will your club meet afterward? What about the summer months, and during the winter holidays? 
Now that you have a clear vision of what you want for your book club, it will be easier to find others who want the same experience.
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    For Your Book Club: Reader's Guides
    Print discussion questions for the books featured recently in O's Reading Room.
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      A Conversation with Colum McCann
      In his National Book Award winning novel Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann plays with the idea of balance, starting with Philippe Petit's 1974 glorious tightrope walk between the Twin Towers, and in stories of ordinary New Yorkers tied, however tangentially, to that event. Our reviewer called the novel "an act of pure bravado." 

      Balance isn't as easy to achieve in life, he admits: "It's bizarre channeling a 38-year-old grandmother who's a prostitute, and then suddenly a note from my kid slips under my door that says: Daddy, let's go play soccer." Colum took time, before heading out to a Mets game with his three children, to speak with us about his reconnaissance walks on Park Avenue, attempts to track down '70s hookers (in a public library), and the reason he wants Bill Gates to read this book.
      Colum McCann
      Photo: Matt Valentine
      O: What made you want to write about Philippe Petit's walk?

      Colum: It's such a glorious human image, almost overused at this stage, but people are still thrilled by the idea of a man walking a quarter of a mile in the sky, back and forth eight times on a quarter-inch rope. I could watch the documentary Man on Wire over and over again. There have been books: Petit's own and a children's book. There was a play that didn't do very well, and a company out in Hollywood is doing a reanimation of the walk. In many ways, a whole industry has grown up around the walk.

      O: When did you start thinking about it?

      Colum: Petit's been in my head since 9/11, but I had to put him off for about three years because I was in the middle of another novel, called Zola. When I got back to it, the idea for the story changed. I became interested in the people who might have seen the event—the you and the me—people who would have been there at the time and those of us might go down to the World Trade Center site now, and stare up in the air imagining him, a sort of ghost up there.

      O: What was the story going to be originally?

      Colum: I thought it would be very specifically about the walk—a small, controlled novel—and I wanted to mess with the idea of history and have him fall...

      O: Oof.

      Colum: I then realized exactly what you just said. The further away we got from 9/11, the more I wanted to find some way to recover. I wanted to talk about the more anonymous corners of the city, because I think it's very important that not all of that anger was turned to revenge. I don't want to get too yippee and "out there," but in the face of crime and torment, the good news is that we can heal. I was interested in the idea of redemption.

      O: So you looked to the 1970s for redemption for something that happened twenty-five years later. How does that work?

      Colum: Yeah, kind of contradictory, isn't it? But if we want to find out who we are, we have to look at who we were. The book was set in the '70s because that's when the walk took place, but I also like writing about that time when we had excess before excess became tragic with AIDS and drugs coming home to roost. We were wild without being overly romantic like in the mid-sixties, which was a time of dreaming.

      PAGE 1 of 3

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        Newsletter: East Of Eden
        YOUR GUIDE: 6/27 Welcome to Oprah's Book Club!
         
        Welcome to the first official Oprah's Book Club Newsletter!

        Book clubbers from all over the world have logged on and signed up for the fastest growing book club! As you know already, our first selection is John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Oprah says, "It's the perfect summer read...a novel so rich and full of drama you won't be able to turn the pages fast enough!" So—if you haven't already, pick up a copy and start reading the first five chapters of Part One.

        You're just days away from receiving exclusive access to "Your Guide" to East of Eden. We'll bring you in-depth behind-the-scenes information on East of Eden—interactive family trees, riveting characters, recurring themes, how Steinbeck responded to his critics, and more!

        Starting next week, Oprah will be sharing her thoughts with you as we go. There will be lots for you to think about!

        Happy reading!
        PAGE 1 of 18

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          Your Reader's Guide to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
          The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
          About the Book
          The New York Times best-seller The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has been called a classic in the making. Find out more about this incredible debut novel by David Wroblewski.

          Read an Excerpt
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          Reading Questions
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          Why Oprah Loves Edgar Sawtelle Watch
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          Watch Oprah's Book Club Webcast and More
          Watch, listen to or download the entire webcast discussion with David Wroblewski. Don't have time for the full episode? Watch the video highlights and get the inside scoop!

          About the Author
          Learn more about David Wroblewski, the first-time novelist who's taking the literary world by storm. Plus, he's answering your questions about reading, writing and making tough character choices.

          Print Your Bookmark PDF
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          O, The Oprah Magazine's Review
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          Take the Quiz!
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            An Instant Classic: Oprah's Private Library
            Where does the woman who got America reading curl up with a good novel? Welcome to the book-filled haven where no one ever says, "Shhhh!"
            Oprah's library
            Photo: Matthew Rolston
            Oprah sits on a comfortable sofa beneath her bookshelves, her golden retriever Luke snoozing companionably beside her. Yes, the library off the front hall of her Santa Barbara home is a calm and restful room—decorated with soft, celadon-green walls, sage-colored chairs, fresh flowers, and elegantly lit paintings. But it's also the kind of place where a beloved dog is allowed to hop up onto the furniture.

            Likewise, the rows of first editions that cover the wall constitute a smashing collection, to be sure. But, Oprah explains, "I'm not a book snob. First editions are great, but so are all books. If you're starting your own library, all that matters is that you start with what you love."

            For her, this has meant acquiring the titles that enable her to realize a long-held and very personal desire: "I have always wanted to be surrounded by black authors," she says. "Now I have all of Langston Hughes, all of Paul Laurence Dunbar; Zora Neale Hurston—all of her writing."

            Just saying their names stirs Oprah. She stands up and clasps her hands behind her back. Reciting Dunbar's lines, her voice sounds younger, almost as if she were a schoolgirl:

            "Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes
            Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee."

            When she finishes, Oprah settles back into the sofa. "Even as a kid," she explains, "my memories are of books taking me out of myself." Hoping to give other children a similar experience, she's donated 6,000 books to juvenile-justice facilities and other youth-outreach organizations through a partnership between her Angel Network and the American Library Association. Oprah has also shared more than 60 reading recommendations through her nearly 2-million-member book club. So although this room is devoted to storing and displaying her collection, no place, really, can physically contain all the titles that have meant something to this book lover. And this room doesn't. Just outside the library, there's a stereo closet in which books outnumber CDs. An adjoining hallway is lined with two additional bookcases. Even the nearby powder room features floor-to-ceiling built-ins, stocked with still more volumes.

            On the shelves directly above the sofa, however, Oprah has placed first editions of Pulitzer Prize winners, including 1948's Tales of the South Pacific, by James A. Michener, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, awarded the prize in 2008. Not to mention Harper Lee's 1960 classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, which Oprah describes as her favorite novel of all time.
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