- Books, Literature, and Writing
Best Selling Books - Book Clubs
Join Book Clubs For The Best Reading Experience
If you're like a lot of people then you regularly look forward to the next release of the best selling books, and you probably belong to one or more book clubs or have in the past. And there's good reason. There are now so many new books being published, in every genre, that we can't possibly read them all and it's so much more difficult to find the good books amongst all the bad. And that's precisely why they've gained in popularity recently, because like minded people review and rate books with honest opinions and book club staff are specifically looking out for your reading experience... they're less likely to recommend a book for ulterior motives or without giving it a full and complete review.
In this lens we'll take a look at some of the most popular book clubs, as well as some resources for staying abreast of the best selling books. Whether or not you already belong to a book club or are considering joining one, I'm sure this lens will help you and provide you some useful information.
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In 2010 online book sales grew 55.2% over the previous three years (latest data available).
People have long enjoyed the calming serenity that reading provides, and many people have also long relied on book clubs to send them, regularly, the best selling books. According to Wikipedia, the Book-of-the-Month Club (which was founded in 1926) is a good example of these types of clubs. As I mentioned earlier, the sheer volume of books being released by publishers makes it virtually impossible for most of us to know which books are worth our time and money and so we rely on experts to apply their experience and judgment to deliver us a book from amongst the book lists that we're most likely to enjoy based on our reading preferences.
Quick Fact: Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year.
But book clubs have more importance to us than merely getting the best selling books sent directly to our door. It's true that many of us read much less than we'd like to, and if we're left to our own devices we more often than not won't find the time to go to the Book Store and sort through best selling book lists or browse the shelves to find a new book... life is just too busy for most of us. Having the books selected for us and sent to our home (or sent to us electronically for our Kindle Fire) helps "motivate" us to read more. In fact some people claim that staying motivated to read is the main reason they belong to a book club. Of course the bonus, in my opinion, is that sometimes you'll get a book that you wouldn't have normally bought yourself at a store, and which you ultimately liked.... sometimes it's nice to venture out and read outside our interest.
Other people really enjoy the social aspect of many book clubs, where readers can review and comment on books they've read and get involved in literary or even just social discussions with other members. Members also post their own book lists so you get an opportunity (after you've gotten to know other readers in the club) to make selections based on their lists and often find a gem. In fact there are some people, I'm convinced, who belong to their book club only for the social interaction it can provide.
Quick Fact: Students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reported having fewer reading materials.
How many books do you read a month on average?
How many books do you read?
My Personal Book Recommendation
Two books from Amazon worth your time.
These are two of the newest and top selling books on Amazon and from the New York Times Best Sellers List. While its clear that this is not the best writing of Mary Higgins Clark's career, those who have enjoyed her over the years (over 30 novels thus far) must indulge themselves once again as we don't know how many more we'll have the pleasure of enjoying. Some have speculated that her daughter, Carol, is doing most of the writing on the co-authored projects and its argued that Mary's voice just isn't there... you decide. As for the other book, The Wanderer, the book delivers in precisely the way you expect a Robyn Carr novel to deliver. While the storyline itself can seem slow, I attribute that to the somewhat familiar small town vs big town life drama; but it's a great read and worthy of your time none the less.
The Wanderer by Robyn CarrRead Book Reviews
The Lost Years by Mary Higgins ClarkRead Book Reviews
Oprah began her book club back in 1996 with the idea that she would personally read and recommend one new book to her viewers each month. Of course Oprah's "Book Club" became a sensation and her ability to influence readers has become legendary. The fanfare was fueled partly by Oprah's personal review and discussion, live on television, and often introducing the authors to her audience making the reading experience so much more personal. Unfortunately, along with ending her show in 2011, the Oprah Book Club as we know it also ended.
Quick Fact: It is estimated that the cost of illiteracy to business and the taxpayer is $20 billion per year.
One of the most memorable moments, for many, to come from Oprah's book club was the ultimately controversial recommendation of James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," in 2005. The memoir was allegedly based on true life events that Frey had endured, ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to his alleged incarceration. As it turns out, by Frey's own on-air admission, the book was mostly fabricated and both Frey and his publicist were handily lambasted live in front of Oprah's audience. This has nothing to do with the point of this lens, of course, but it's an interesting note I felt like throwing in while writing about Oprah's Book Clubs.
Quick Fact: More than three out of four of those on welfare, 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. About three in five of America's prison inmates are illiterate.
Do You Belong to Book Club?
Why Amazon Book Clubs Are A Great Choice
Its more than books lists, it's about reading regularly and often
There are many choices for buying books, to be sure, but Amazon's Book Clubs give us the greatest (and simplest) access to the newest best selling books, and at discount prices that are tough to beat. It's also great for reasons stated earlier, like motivating us to read, helping us step out of our normal reading genre and exploring new ideas and styles, and opens up a whole new world of social book reading experiences. Because of that Amazon Book Clubs is a popular choice and something I recommend to everyone who truly enjoys a good book, to keep learning and keep growing.
Especially for those who also have, or are getting, an e-reader like the Kindle Fire listed above, Amazon is perhaps the best online source for everyone who likes to read and stay in touch. There's so many reasons to make Amazon your go to place for all your book and e-book shopping, such as:
* Best Books of the Month
* Shelfari: Amazon.com owned community-powered encyclopedia / social site for book lovers
* Book Club for Teens
* Categories for Award Winners
* Amazon Delivers: be the first to hear about new and upcoming picks for Book Clubs.
* And much more...
Do you own, or have you seen or used a book reader or tablet like the Kindle Fire?
Do You Own a Kindle?
Other Book Clubs and Reader Resources
There are a lot of other book clubs from which you can buy your books and interact with other readers (in many cases), and here are a selection of them if you're in the market and would like to compare.
Doubleday Book Club has a wide selection of best selling books including new fiction books, romantic suspense books and New York Times bestsellers. Their book club has bargain books from favorite authors such as James Patterson, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks and many more. You'll find the best new book releases and classic fiction as well as discount books and recommendations from Doubleday editors.
Quick Fact: 15% of all U.S. 4th graders read no faster than 74 words per minute, a pace at which it would be difficult to keep track of ideas as they are developing within the sentence and across the page.
The Literary Guild Book Club is similar to Doubleday's Book Club and has a pretty robust offering.
Random House has quite a few resources for readers, from reading guides to book clubs and is highly rated.
The International Reading Association also has an extensive list of resources for anyone interested in reading, and who might also want resources to help someone else with their reading.
“You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them”
~ Ray Bradbury
Why Reading Books Is Important
We all owe it to ourselves, our families and our communities to get more actively involved in promoting reading. In an article in The New Yorker titled "Twilight of the Books", in a discussion about the decline in the number of people who actively read, it was stated that "More alarming are indications that Americans are losing not just the will to read but even the ability." And the problem isn't just an American one. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that "By 1995, reading, which had occupied twenty-one per cent of people's spare time in 1955, accounted for just nine per cent."
What can people do? We can all be more active in supporting and even promoting reading in the children in our lives, even neighbors. The younger children are when they're exposed to (not just casually) reading, the more likely they are to continue the practice, and for good reason; It seems that many children fall behind (or were behind to begin with) in their ability to read at their age level, and the consequences of that increase exponentially as they get further and further behind, and therefore dislike reading more and more. The "Center for Effective Parenting" has a great free pdf that you can view or download titled "Helping Young Children Learn To Read" and it has some really good tips on how to get kids more actively involved in reading. In it they write that "Children who become good readers when they are young are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond."
Local book clubs used to be quite popular, and many libraries still host a book club (or several in larger libraries). These types of clubs, if they're available in your area, offer a great opportunity to interact with others who share the same reading interest and where the pleasure of reading goes well beyond just reading. Book clubs typically meat once a month to discuss, review, analyze and critique a book that the group read, and then select a book to be read the following month. Each club is different and some meet more often. If you don't have a local club maybe you can start one. The Memphis Library has a great guide on How to Start and Sustain a Book Club.
Quick Fact: First grade children with good word recognition skills were exposed to almost twice as many words in their basal readers as were children who had poor word recognition skills.
Another great online resource is the Online Book Club, which bills itself as "an internet community for book lovers." From reader forums and book reviews to lists of best selling books and literary comment, this is a pretty robust site especially good for those without local access to a book club, but it's a great resource for everyone who loves books. Their intro page has a really great quote from Mark Twain that should inspire you to read a little more often:
“The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them”
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