Guest Blog: Great Reads Need a Group to Read Them

Great Reads Need a Group to Read Them – by Linda Rosen, Guest Blogger

Linda Rosen is a Fitness Professional and writer. She blogs as the Literary Leotard weaving these two passions together. When refreshments are served at WNBA-NYC events Linda, as Hospitality Chairperson, has created the menu and ordered all the goodies. She lives in N.J. with her husband and just a few blocks from her grandson who at 4 ½ shares her love of reading.

 Linda's head shot

 

My Kindle tells me I’ve read 46% of The Goldfinch. When I look at my calendar I realize I’d better hurry and finish soon, though really that’s not a problem with this page turner by Donna Tartt. But time is ticking away and soon, as a member of the Great Group Reads committee, I’ll be inundated with new books to read. Novels and memoirs will arrive on my doorstep in a few The_goldfinch_by_donna_tartweeks via Fed Ex and UPS, and even some in padded envelopes through the U.S. mail, and each time I bring one inside and open it up my adrenaline will kick in. A new book! And a real one to hold in my hands. I never wanted to read from an e-book, but once I joined the Great Group Reads committee I figured it was a good idea rather than buying more book shelves and maybe even enlarging a room to house them.

Great Group Reads is a committee made up of WNBA members from across the country and I am honored and fortunate to be among these interesting, dedicated women. Our aa9b01d6e0f567563a5274124b48fc8fmission (and we do accept it) is to read and decide which books should make the GGR list for National Reading Group Month. As NRGM’s website, www.nationalreadinggroupmonth.org, states, “WNBA launched National Reading Group Month in October 2007 as the premier event of its 90th anniversary…It “Salutes reading groups”…. and “fosters their growth and promotes the love of literature.”

As a member of the selection committee, I assist the GGR chairperson, this year Bebe Brechner of the Nashville chapter, and last year, when I came on board, Roz Reisner who held the post from its inception until handing the reins to Bebe.  In early spring, a call goes out to the publishing world and publishers large and small submit the books they think are best for discussion. After a preliminary selection process, the committee (divided in 2) reads about 50 books and then votes on which books will make the list.  In October, after months of delicious reading and deciding which books would be best for book clubs, the list is publicized widely: to review media, libraries, book stores—everywhere that readers look for good books to read and discuss. WNBA chapters across the country host programs in October highlighting the titles and authors.

9781455507214_custom-fb37f3a28a7c0a0513ee50ad4d8305442f6511c0-s6-c30Reading for GGR is a pleasure I look forward to. Yes, I have put aside novels on my “to read” list for a little while, but I get an advance on those that will be published in 2014. I get to be the person who recommends beautifully written stories to my friends, books they might not have heard of yet. I feel proud when I see our list posted in my local library and on the counter at a bookstore and I fluff my feathers when one of our choices gets reviewed in The New York Times or makes it on the “Best-Seller” list. Though some of our choices will not appear on its pages, I know each one is a masterpiece on its own. The committee chooses novels and memoirs with depth, with themes and characters to delve into, and writing to envy. I love curling up in my Laz-Y-Boy with a cup of tea at my side and hearing the snap as I open the cover of a new book, inhale its freshly printed pages, and travel to new places and meet new characters.

Now I’ll go back to The Goldfinch and be ready when those new books start arriving on my doorstep. Spring can’t come too soon, and not only because of all this snow. It’s when I get to devour piles of new books, some of which will make the 2014 Great Group Reads list.

Here is more information on how to join the selection committee:

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Great Group Reads — Selection Committee Information

We are recruiting new members to join the Great Group Reads Selection Committee for 2014.

Great Group Reads is a major initiative of National Reading Group Month (NRGM), which is sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). We are recruiting new readers to join our Selection Committee for this year’s list.

An overview of Great Group Reads:

Each year, the Great Group Reads (GGR) Selection Committee prepares a list of recommendations of literary fiction and memoirs for book discussion groups around the country. Publishers supply the Selection Committee with reading copies. Selected books are publicized and promoted on the National Reading Group Month website with professionally designed display materials such as shelf-talkers and table-top posters for anyone to download and use in promoting these titles for independent bookstores, reading groups and libraries.  It is an important service for the reading public and for publishers.  Participation in the selection is rigorous but rewarding!

Readers on the selection committee must adhere to the following rules:

  1. Membership in good standing with a WNBA chapter or with a network membership
  2. Commit to reading at least 100 pages of each book, up to 25, sent to your home/office
  3. Be able to utilize the private GGR blog to thoughtfully comment on each of the books
  4. Have experience in book discussion groups in order to understand how group dynamics work in discussing books!
  5. Prepare a brief profile for posting on the NRGM website (no contact information needed)
  6. Follow guidelines in selection (see Guidelines for Selection below)
  7. Do not post public reviews or comments on the books you are reading for GGR until after the list is made public in September 2014
  8. Adhere to the deadlines for reading, commenting, and submitting a list of your top favorites (see Schedule below)

Guidelines for Selection in Great Group Reads:

  1. Targeted to adult reading groups throughout the U.S., with broad based appeal
  2. The selection should provide lively discussions, conflict, or touch on timely issues
  3. Fully developed themes, narratives, characters are essential.  These must be mature works of literature
  4. The selection may be a title that won’t necessarily achieve superstar status but is highly deserving of attention from reading groups, and could be characterized as a “mid-list gem”

Schedule:

  1. We start to receive books by March, and the delivery may continue through April
  2. Blog comments start up as soon as books are received and read – you will receive instructions on it
  3. Submission of your recommendations list is due near the end of July  (exact date TBD)
  4. Finalization of the Great Group Reads list is early August
  5. Press release on the list in early to mid-September
  6. National Reading Group Month is the month of October with special chapter events

To see last year’s Great Group Reads list, go to http://www.nationalreadinggroupmonth.org/ggr_selections.html

This is a huge commitment to undertake for the next few months, so we want you to understand it thoroughly before asking to join the Selection Committee. If this is for you, let me know by emailing me at sbrechner@gmail.comsbrechner@gmail.com.  If you need more information, just ask.  And thanks for considering the job!

 

 

About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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