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HuffPost Book Club: A How-To Guide

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We've been running the HuffPost Book Club for the better part of a year now, and as both an editor and a book club member, I wanted to go back and go over a few things that have come up from readers as we've moved along our journey. Our club grew from a small group of engaged readers to a huge group of amazing and dedicated book lovers in just a few months and it's easy for us to forget that you haven't all had experience on a digital club of this kind. So, let's back up, shall we?

First of all, we are the editors of the Books section of the Huffington Post. We're four people with varied backgrounds, but we all have a rapid hunger for reading, and we started this club because we know the way you engage with books has probably changed since the dawn of the ereader and Twitter and Facebook - it has for us too. You can read about each of us at the top of this post here.

The question we received the most, by far, where can I find the discussion? Every single book has a discussion post that serves as the collector for ALL the information around that book. You'll find a few tweets, some discussion questions and prompts, some video chats and even chapter updates. Think of it as your command center per book. You can find the current discussion post for "The Sun Also Rises" here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/the-sun-also-rises-book-club_n_1665693.html?utm_hp_ref=books

Also, we will always feature that current discussion post on this page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/book-club
It's where you'll find some general info on the current book, as well as the past books.

We try to do either a live video chat or a written chapter update at the same time each week on that aforementioned discussion page. You'll receive your Wednesday newsletter every week telling you where to go for that discussion and how to participate in it. We decide whether to do video or a written update based on what's going on that week and how active the discussion post has been; aka: if the book club community isn't commenting a lot that week, we assume you don't need to see my face on your screen!

Many of you said email is the best way to reach you (by far over Twitter) and we'll stick to that and take that preference seriously. You'll get a specifically tailored newsletter every week, until you don't want it anymore.

How can you participate? We compile thoughts and questions in several ways:

  • On Twitter at the hashtag #hpbookclub. Use that hashtag as your Twitter central for all book club thoughts. You can tweet at any time; we watch it often!
  • On the discussion post, in the comments. Get comfortable in the comments! Speak to each other, and leave notes for us. I promise you, we read them daily.
  • If you have more to say, we always welcome community member blogs in op-ed style, explaining your own personal connection to the book.
  • And, you can always send us an email at hpbookclub@huffingtonpost.com.

How do we pick our books? Look out for our newsletter announcing book choices and votes. We always poll the community on a few of our top choices and go with your vote. Then we'll announce a starting date, giving everyone ample time to visit their local library, book shop or online provider. From then on you'll get your aforementioned weekly emails, and you'll see updates on the discussion post.

Several of you asked, so I'll bring this up again: We will soon be unleashing a special "membership" for a few community members who have been extremely active. We'll ask them to pick the book short list with us, to come up with some discussion points (if they'd like to) and get a little bit of knowledge before everyone else as a way to help us gauge what you want. Many of you expressed interest, and I'd love to know your thoughts, so please leave me a comment or email us. This book club is for you and we can only know how you are enjoying it, and how you want it to look, if you tell us!

So, get comfortable, read, come back, leave your thoughts, speak to each other, write and respond. We love hearing what you think and can't wait to read more books with you. Thank you so much for participating and I'll "see" you on Wednesday.