15 Insightful Blogs for Book Club Leaders

Book Club

Leading a book club can be hard work but very rewarding at the same time. Not only do you have to make time to read every week, but you're also responsible for hosting meetings, leading discussions, and choosing books that will keep your book club members enthralled. Whether you need inspiration to start a group or you just want to shake things up at your meetings, these 15 insightful blogs will help you achieve your leadership goals.

  1. The Big Read Blog: The Big Read Blog was created by the National Endowment for the Arts, whose mission is to bring literature back into people's lives and promote reading for all ages. This resourceful blog provides reading suggestions, reading activities and reports on industry news that could be applied to your book club.

  2. book club girl: Book club girl is your one-stop guide for learning how to run a book club. Here you'll find various book reviews, fiction and nonfiction book club suggestions and informative pieces on authors and the publishing industry.

  3. Book Club Queen: The Book Club Queen is loaded with helpful reviews, recommendations and guides to start or strengthen any and all types of book clubs. Whether you need help hosting a meeting, naming a club or starting a discussion, you'll get these answers and much more from the Queen herself.

  4. Together Book Club: Together Book Club does exactly that – it brings kids and parents together to read and discuss books. This unique book club gives group leaders an idea of how to run a niche club, as well as providing numerous book reviews, reading suggestions and author profiles.

  5. Book Club in a Box: Book Club in a Box gives book club leaders the tools to make their group the best it can possibly be with the help of handy reading suggestions, leadership advice and insightful reviews.

  6. Book Divas: If you couldn't tell by the name, this blog is all about divas and what they like to read. Book Divas is an initiative of the Diva Entertainment Group Inc., which provides an online community for women who love to read and talk about books. Book club leaders will find this blog's book reviews, extensive author interviews and industry tips a huge help.

  7. LitLovers: LitLovers has all the tools you need to lead your book club in the right direction. You'll get access to informative book club resources, such as discussion tips, games and icebreakers, reading guides and book reviews that will enhance the overall book club experience.

  8. Book Club Classics!: Check out all of the reading lists, discussion questions and reviews that Book Club Classics! has to offer. While you're here, be sure to download the handy and free bookmarks that list and describe characters from all the classic novels.

  9. Mother Daughter Book Club: Whether or not you're a mother or daughter, all book club leaders can learn something from this niche reading group. The club creator also provides helpful book club planning tools, suggested readings, reviews and discussion tips you'll find very useful.

  10. DailyLit: Take a modern approach to leading a book club and go digital with the help of DailyLit, which sends books via email or RSS. Your book club members will have the convenience of reading the book installments on their computer, smartphones and various PDAs.

  11. Book Addiction: Book Addiction is a great resource for readers and book club leaders alike. This blogger provides an extensive list of book reviews and reading suggestions that will make choosing your group's next book a breeze.

  12. The Book Lady's Blog: Rebecca Joines Schinsky's quirky blog will not only keep you entertained, but it'll also provide some valuable reading suggestions and book reviews you can use in your book club. Be sure to check out her author interviews and events that you could replicate.

  13. Linus's Blanket: Learn the ropes from this book club leader who has been meeting with friends and strangers to talk about books for more than 5 years. Here, you'll find a variety of book reviews, book club reading lists and other tips to make the most out of your group.

  14. Everyday I Write the Book: This avid reader has been blogging for five years and knows a thing or two about reviewing and discussing books. Her lengthy list of book reviews and reading suggestions will help you decide on your club's next assignment.

  15. Booking Mama: Take some tips from this Booking Mama, who's also a member of three different book clubs. Her blog provides a wide selection of book reviews, reading suggestions and advice on how to get the most out of your book club through discussions, book giveaways and other resources you'll certainly want to use.

10 Best British Open Performances

Rory McIlroy's Tiger-esque performance at Congressional has many golf fans wondering what the 22-year-old has in store for Royal St. George's, one of the most difficult courses in the Open Championship rotation. Past winners Walter Hagen, Sandy Lyle and Greg Norman were required to play the best golf of their careers to capture the Claret Jug, and this year's champion will need to produce a similar performance — perhaps one worthy of being mentioned with the following memorable British Open performances.

  1. Old Tom Morris, Prestwick, 1862: A pioneer in the sport, Old Tom Morris was not only the first professional golfer, but the first dominant professional golfer. He won four of the first eight Open Championships before his son, Young Tom Morris, proceeded to win four of his own. Old Tom's most impressive performance came in 1862, when he obliterated the field by 13 strokes, a record that stood for 138 years.
  2. Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953: One Open Championship appearance, one win. Hogan was unable to participate in the tournament in any other year because the PGA Championship was held at the same time, but 1953 proved to be the right year for him to enter the field, as he had already won that year's Masters and US Open. Shooting a course record 68 in the final round, he finished four shots ahead of the field, demonstrating the highest level of golf to the captivated gallery.
  3. Jack Nicklaus, St. Andrews, 1970: Sure, Jack won it with a little help from Doug Sanders, who, with a one shot lead heading to 72, failed to sink a three-foot downhill putt to secure the victory. Jack, a proven winner, pounced on the opportunity to win his eighth major and second British Open title. Overcoming difficult conditions all weekend, including 56 mph wind, he won a 18-hole playoff after sinking a dramatic eight-foot putt. It was his first major victory since the 1967 US Open — his father had recently died, and golf had lost its importance to him, which is why this victory was extra important.
  4. Tom Watson, Turnberry, 1977: Remembered as one of the finest displays of golf in a major championship, the 1970 Open Championship pitted the ageless Nicklaus versus the emerging Watson. Paired in the third round as both were one shot off the lead, they entered the final round with a four-shot lead on the field, battling to a tie on 16. Nicklaus's remarkable missed birdie on 17 gave Watson the advantage, but he still needed to sink a birdie on 18 to seal the win. He finished with a 65 and a record 268.
  5. Seve Ballesteros, Royal Litham & St. Annes, 1979: Three years after he finished second at Royal Birkdale as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, Seve won his first major championship, and he did it in entertaining fashion. With a two-shot lead over Ben Crenshaw on 16, his tee shot settled beneath a parked car, giving him a free drop. Amazingly, he still secured a birdie, sinking a 20-foot putt that has since lived in Open Championship lore.
  6. Seve Ballesteros, St. Andrews, 1984: It was a duel between two players who lived for the Open — Seve and Watson finished their accomplished careers with three and five Open championships respectively. During the final day of the 1984 edition, only a shot separated the two, and it wasn't until the final two holes that things cleared up. Watson bogeyed 17 and Seve responded by birdying 18, stealing the victory.
  7. John Daly, St. Andrews, 1995: Sometimes, merely surviving is half the battle. Daly wasn't expected to appear at the top of the leaderboard at St. Andrews in 1995, but he did, and he had a heck of a time keeping his spot. After achieving a difficult par on 17, Costantino Rocca found himself in the "Valley of Sin" on 18, where he made a spectacular 60-foot putt to force a four-hole playoff. Undaunted, Daly proceeded to win the playoff, capturing his second major championship.
  8. Tiger Woods, St. Andrews, 2000: Memories of Old Tom Morris's dominance resurfaced as Tiger continued playing the best golf of his career — the best golf of anyone's career — winning the Open by eight strokes over Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn, accumulating the lowest 72-hole score in relation to par in major championship history. This came after Tiger's 15-stroke victory at the US Open in which he broke Morris's record. Completing the "Tiger Slam," he became the youngest golfer to win all four major championships.
  9. Padraig Harrington, Carnoustie Golf Links, 2007: Sergio Garcia led the first three rounds, but relented on the final round, as the lead changed on multiple occasions. Down six shots the day, Harrington remained determined to win his first major, connecting on four birdies and an eagle to gain a one-shot lead heading into the final hole. After his double bogey, he defeated Garcia in a playoff. He was the first Irishman to win the tourney in 60 years.
  10. Tom Watson, Turnberry, 2009: He didn't win, but never has a 59-year-old performed better in the Open Championship. Fans marveled at Watson's first round 65, but he was expected to quickly fade so the younger generation could rule the course. By the end of the third round, however, he was in sole possession of the lead and in serious contention for his sixth Open Championship. After a birdie on 17, he needed a par four at 18 to win, but he bogeyed, and lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink. Despite the outcome, his performance made the 2009 edition of the tournament extra-memorable.

10 Underrated NBA Youngsters Who are Sure to Become Stars

The current era of NBA basketball is the most talented since Jordan, Magic, and Bird revolutionized the sport during the 1980s…

Kobe, LeBron, Wade, and Dirk are household names, their skills are transcendent, and each is destined to finish his career as a top-20, top-15 player all time. Every casual fan is familiar with the aforementioned players, but do they know about Steph Curry's sharpshooting, Rudy Gay's versatility or Ty Lawson's blazing speed? The guys listed below are emerging stars who either play for perennial cellar dwellers, small market teams (or both), or behind veteran players who've refused to relinquish their minutes. Given the opportunity, they could take that step into the next tier — maybe not into LeBron's or Dirk's tier, but they could enter discussions regarding the best at their positions.

  1. Kevin Love, Minnesota: In reality, Love is already a star. Because he played for the worst team in the NBA in 2010-11 and possibly the worst-run organization in the league, people tend to dismiss his remarkable production. Not since Moses Malone has a player posted such gaudy scoring and rebounding totals. Last season, he became the first player to post a 30-30 game (30 points, 30 rebounds) since Moses almost 30 years ago. He tallied 53 consecutive double-doubles, the longest such streak since 1976, and led the league in rebounding with more than 15 per game. Perhaps his most impressive attribute as a big man is his shooting ability. Listed at 6-10, 260, he shot 85% from the free throw line 41.7% from the 3pt line, an 8.7% jump from the previous season. For his efforts, he won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.

  2. Brook Lopez, New Jersey: When Lopez entered the league, he drew comparisons to Tim Duncan, who possesses a similar body type and a refined post game, though obviously more advanced than Brook's. The 23-year-old center's strengths are his low-post scoring, ability to hit the outside shot, and excellent free throw shooting for a big man (80.1% for his career). His best asset may be his durability — in three seasons, he hasn't missed a game, averaging 34.2 mpg. His defense and rebounding leave a lot to be desired, but, as it stands now, he's already a top-5 center in the league.

  3. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento: If you follow John Hollinger's statistical musings, then you're already familiar with the incredible efficiency of Kevin Love — 24.39 PER in 2010-11, fourth best in the league after LeBron, Howard and Wade — and the sometimes unsettling inefficiency of players such as Tyreke Evans, a combo guard who struggled during his sophomore campaign due to family issues and a nagging plantar fasciitis injury. As a result, his PER ranking fell to 33rd among point guards in 2010-11, 25 spots lower than what he posted during his rookie season. An athletic slasher with solid court vision, a healthy Evans — physically and mentally — is capable of lifting the Kings from the bottom of the Western Conference. As he evolves and learns to properly harness his skills, higher efficiency numbers are sure to follow.

  4. Stephen Curry, Golden State: He's already among the league's best shooters, ranking up there with Ray Allen in 3pts made and 3pt percentage (43.9% for his career). During his sophomore season he shot 48% from the field, 44.2% from 3pt range and a league's best 93.4% from the free throw line, accumulating a true shooting percentage of 59.5 — only veterans Chauncey Billups and Steve Nash shot better overall. Despite his small size and slender frame, he can score at will, and he's not a bad distributor either, though he could stand to reduce the amount of turnovers he commits per game. That should come with experience.

  5. Rudy Gay, Memphis: Sure, the Grizzlies knocked off the No. 1 seed Spurs and nearly reached the Western Conference Finals without Gay, who suffered a shoulder injury that ended his season. But he's still an indispensable player for the team, as evidenced by the five-year, $82 million contract he was rewarded last summer. Since the acquisition of Zach Randolph, he's been the Grizzlies' second-leading scorer and go-to option on the perimeter — last season, he averaged 19.8 ppg while shooting 39.6% from 3pt range and 80.5% from the free throw line. As the Grizz make more noise in the playoffs in the coming years, you'll be hearing a lot more from Gay.

  6. Eric Gordon, LA Clippers: Overshadowed by Blake Griffin and his nightly jaw-dropping highlights, Gordon has quietly become the Clippers' most reliable perimeter scorer, supplementing Griffin's work in the interior. One of the league's best clutch scorers last season, he shot 55.6% from the field and 53.3% from 3pt range in the final five minutes of regulation when the Clippers were either winning or losing by five points or fewer. He's at his best when he attacks the basket, which also serves to free up opportunities for his teammates. The Griffin/Gordon duo is destined to become one of the league's best one-two punches, unless, of course, the Clippers manage to screw it up.

  7. Marc Gasol, Memphis: The future is certainly bright in Memphis. Gay has molded himself into one of league's best small forwards, Randolph has emerged as one of the league's best power forwards, Mike Conley made huge strides last season, and Gasol has developed into one of the league's best centers. The Grizzlies are committed to keeping this summer's most coveted (restricted) free agent, whose presence underneath the basketball with Randolph gave their Western Conference opponents fits last season. The 26-year-old seven-footer tallied 15 ppg, 11.2 rpg and 2.2 bpg during the postseason, demonstrating his worth before a captive playoff audience.

  8. Marcus Thornton, Sacramento: A second-round pick in 2009, Thornton made the 42 teams that passed on him sorry during his rookie season, as he immediately contributed to the Hornets. In 25 mpg, he ranked fifth among rookies, scoring 14.5 ppg. He spent much of his sophomore season in new coach Monty Williams' doghouse primarily because of his lack of effort on defense. At the trade deadline, he was sent to Sacramento in a deal for Carl Landry, which allowed him to flourish. In his final 27 games of the season, 23 of which he started, he scored 21.3 ppg in 38.1 mpg, giving the Kings an intimidating one-two punch in the backcourt. He's been compared to Jason Terry, who may not be a superstar, but did happen to be the second-best scorer on a championship squad.

  9. Ty Lawson, Denver: Raymond Felton, a very good point guard who just had the best season of his career, was made expendable by the presence of his fellow Tar Heel Lawson. Nuggets' GM Masai Ujiri traded Felton on draft day knowing that the future of the position is secure with Lawson, who averaged 11.7 ppg and 4.6 apg in 26.3 mpg last season. His most impressive attribute is his speed, which enables him to push the ball in transition and regularly elude defenders. He's an excellent scorer inside and outside, making 63.2% of his baskets at the rim, 40.4% of his 3pt shots and 50.3% of his shots overall last season. In a full-time starting role with more minutes (he started 31 games last season), Lawson will have the opportunity to assert control over the Nuggets' offense.

  10. DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers: Whether or not he remains with the Clippers remains to be seen, as multiple teams will undoubtedly bid for the services of Jordan, a freakishly athletic 6'11 center who can provide both excitement and size in the post. Turning just 23 this summer, Jordan's production has steadily increased as his minutes have increased. Last season, he averaged 7.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 1.8 bpg in 25 mpg, shooting a team-high 68.6% from the field. There are concerns about his work ethic, so it's essential that he lands in the right situation with the right tutelage.

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