A Keep It Super Simple Book Discussion

I love movies, I love books, and I really love discussing an outstanding movie based on a terrific book. I couldn’t find a discussion group, so I started the Screen and Page at Goodreads and Facebook. If you love discussing movies based on books too, you are invited to join.

Keep It Super Simple book discussion group guide

I’m trying to Keep It Super Simple! If you want a simple way to start a book discussion group, the following ideas and resources might help.

Getting Organized

  1. Choose a topic: Fiction (new & popular? award winners? classic? mystery?) or Nonfiction (business? self-help? history?).
  2. Select a name that reflects the topic.
  3. For an in-person group, choose a time and place to meet, and decide on how many members (a good number is generally 8-12).
  4. Whether in-person or online, send invitations.
  5. At an organizational meeting, decide on guidelines, book selection, and whether to have snacks or not.

Moderator or not?

Also decide whether to have a moderator lead discussions, and if so, how they will be selected and what the duties will include. A moderator can help keep the discussion on track, and could also look for specific discussion questions or resources related to the book online. It can also work to simply take turns and use generic discussion questions like the ones below. Or everyone can write a comment or question on an index card and just select from them at random to discuss. Or you can roll dice to choose a discussion topic. (here’s an online dicer roller)

dieRoll a Fiction Book Discussion 

Pair this with the printable Fiction discussion questions below.

  1. Miscellaneous
  2. Author
  3. Characters
  4. Dialogue
  5. Originality
  6. Pace
  7. Plot
  8. Setting
  9. Structure
  10. Style
  11. Theme
  12. Ideas & Thoughts

Generic Discussion Questions

Online Tools for a Reading Group

  • It was easy to set up a group at Goodreads. MakeUseOf has a helpful Unofficial Guide to Goodreads. Here is Screen and Page on Goodreads.
  • You can also set up a Facebook page for your group, and add the Goodreads app. Goodreads provides prompts when you set up your group. Here is Screen and Page on Facebook.


Example Guidelines for a Book Discussion Group in person – These are the Screen and Page guidelines.

  • It’s best if you read the book and watch the movie! But if you can’t manage it, come anyway.
  • Consider taking notes as you read the book and after watching the movie. BooksMoviesNotes (pdf)
  • Try to stay (mostly) on topic.
  • Everyone is invited to participate…One at a time please!
  • Opinions may vary, and all are respected.

Example Guidelines for an Online Book Discussion Group – These are the Screen and Page Rules:

  1. We expect respect. DO be respectful & kind. NO spam, profanity, or obscene language is allowed & NO personal attacks or abuse. Any inappropriate content will be deleted and the poster blocked.
  2. We expect opinions will vary. Consider explaining how the work made you feel and supporting your views by mentioning a scene from the movie or a passage from the book. Please mark *spoilers* with astericks.

Meeting Agendas

  • Greetings – a few minutes for welcomes, introductions, icebreakers if desired. Update the contact list if one is maintained.
  • Idea List for Future Reads – review, add suggestions, and vote for next month’s read.
  • Moderator – choose for next month if you use one. (draw straws?)
  • Discussion – reminder of guidelines
  • Conclusion – Thanks for joining!

Book Selection

Add suggestions to a list of ideas for future books to read. Promising titles for interesting discussions have…

  • Characters that are amazing.
  • Original or unique approach.
  • Themes that are complex.
  • Emotions or thoughts inspired.

List Options: Listopia at Goodreads,  List.ly (although I quickly hit limits with the free version), maybe Litsy if you are an ios person. For Screen and Page I’m creating a shareable spreadsheet in Google Drive. A feature of Goodreads is a way to take a poll of Goodreads group members to vote on future reads. Consider having the next two books selected, so people have plenty of time to read the selections.

More Resources

Printable Reading List from Money Saving Mom

Guides for Starting a Book Club

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at www.phonicspow.com. In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in Books

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