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Great Escape: Join a Book Club

Back to school means back to the books for the kids. It's also your chance to read something that you enjoy and discuss it with other adults.

Each week, we’ll tell you about one great idea to give you a much-deserved break, and make your life a little easier, maybe a whole lot easier.

Autumn is right around the corner, and it’s almost time for students to hit the books again. While the kids are doing their homework, you could take a few minutes to catch up on some of your own reading. Better yet, joining a formal book club or reading group is a great way to expand your mind and meet new people.

If you have the time, you could read a book or two over the upcoming Labor Day weekend and then join up with some other people to discuss them at a book club. Ask around, because chances are you can find a local book club in your neighborhood.

For instance:

The North Haven Congregational Church's Book Club is open to everyone and meets monthly, usually on Monday nights at 7:30pm. The next discussion group takes place on September 19, and the selection is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. On October 24, the group will discuss Sons, by Pearl S. Buck.

Local libraries and bookstores are also good places to inquire about book clubs. They might even sponsor their own reading groups, so check their events calendars for more information.

What if you don’t have time or the desire to attend book club discussions in person? You could always try an online group, either by joining an existing group or by creating one with your friends. You can discuss books via group email or chat. Since there’s not always a set meeting time, you can often post to the groups at your convenience. Barnes and Noble also hosts online groups and community forums that you can join to discuss whatever you’re reading.

Searching terms such as “reading groups” and “book clubs online” will lead you to a great deal of advice about finding groups and selecting books. The following links are also good starting points for general information and book discussion opportunities:

http://www.book-clubs-resource.com/book-club.php

http://www.booktalk.org/

To get the most out of the experience, try reading books outside of your normal area of interest. For example, if mystery is your favorite genre, mix it up a bit by choosing something related to current events. On the other hand, if you normally read historical accounts or biographies, pick something lighter with a fun theme that you can discuss easily. Regardless of whether you decide to attend a book club in person or join one online, you’ll have the perfect excuse to socialize and engage in some adult conversation.

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