What do you mean by a "starter" book?


How to start

    Have you decided to venture into discussion of political books?  If so, now that you have thought about what model you want to have and initiated some action to find the best setting, you will want to select a book that will get things going in the right direction.  You want a starter book that will attract interested readers in your community. 

By this term I mean a book that YOU select which will be likely to appeal to many and get a good-sized group to attend.  Best-sellers would be a great option, as many politically-minded people already want an excuse to read that book. 

     This list of starter books will grow and change as we find more, many of which will probably be recommended by you.  In the meantime, you will have a short range goal and a longer term one in terms of setting up a schedule for both a starter book and a potential series. 

     The short-range goal is to get people to your initial meeting.  If you are offering your discussions through a political party or organization's office, the best way to promote it is through their newsletter or bulletin system.  Sometimes you will be able to give meeting particulars with a visual as well and, in other cases you may have to settle for a few lines in a brief newsletter.  A party chair or organizer might be willing to set out a flyer at meetings or in the office itself.  If you plan on a party-affiliated discussion, I would hold off on social media publicity, although that can be valuable later.   You likely have experienced political discussions in the last year, when both sides wonder what planet the other side is on.  If you have polar-opposite strangers, with no built-up civil norms yet  at the first session, it may well be the last.  Once my group was well-established and comfortable with each other, I would ask them if they would like a discussion on a non-partisan book, to which they could bring a friend with opposing views.  There could be great value in this, but it probably is a risky thing to do at the start, unless your overarching purpose is to teach civil discourse.

     The longer-range goal is to get them back and into a series of discussions.  Before they commit, they will want to know when the meetings will be and what the books will be.  You can and should begin to set your dates for the series before you know what the books will be.  There will be more on selecting the books in the next blog.