Running a book discussion group may sometimes seem like a thankless, time-consuming job. Recruiting (not to mention retaining) group members, organizing meetings, selecting book titles, coming up with discussion questions and researching prior to the discussion…just thinking about all this organizational leg-work is enough to keep your head spinning for weeks before the day of the group meeting even arrives. Whether you are currently running a thriving, successful book discussion group, or you’re considering starting one up with your friends or at your local public library, knowing where to turn to choose titles and to find fodder for your actual book discussion is half the organizational battle. The NoveList Plus database, available through the North Dakota State Library and your local North Dakota public library, is a great one-stop resource to help you find what you need to choose a book and jumpstart your discussion.
At its core, NoveList is a book discovery engine. Using its search capabilities, you can find books by author, titles by series, and reading recommendation lists by genre/theme, award winners, and much more. For a book club, NoveList is a great resource to select titles for discussion. Each book title entry provides:
- A plot summary
- A description of the book’s genre, tone, storyline and writing style
- Read-alikes; and
- Book reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist
NoveList also offers a fantastic collection of book discussion guides, for both fiction and nonfiction titles. Each guide provides a summary of the book, a number of questions with further discussion points for each, as well as an about the author section. The discussion guide also offers further reading suggestions, with a short description of each book and how it relates to the book at hand. At present, there are discussion guides in NoveList for 923 titles. Most recent additions in March 2014 are for The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris and The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.
North Dakota residents can access NoveList through the North Dakota State Library’s online resources or through your local public library.