The topic of talking about books might seem self-evident to some people. But other people are intimidated by reading a book and then going to book club and talking about it. Sometimes people aren’t sure what they’re supposed to say or how they’re supposed to say it. So I want to give you some tips on how to talk about books.
Start with an Introduction: Introduce the book you want to discuss. Share the title, author’s name, and perhaps a brief overview of the plot or genre. This sets the context for the conversation.
Express Your Opinion: Share your thoughts and feelings about the book. Discuss what you liked or disliked, and explain why. Be specific, mentioning particular aspects such as the writing style, characters, plot, or themes that resonated with you.
Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage others to share their thoughts by asking open-ended questions. For example:
- What did you think of the book?
- What were your favorite moments or characters?
- How did the book make you feel?
- Did you agree with the author’s message or themes?
- Discuss Themes and Messages: Explore the deeper meanings and themes present in the book. Consider the messages conveyed and how they relate to real-life issues or personal experiences. Engage in thoughtful discussions around these topics.
Compare and Contrast: If applicable, compare the book to others you’ve read or similar works within the same genre. Discuss similarities, differences, and what sets the book apart.
Recommendations: Share recommendations for other books you feel are similar or complementary to the one discussed. Ask others for their recommendations as well. This can lead to discovering new books and expanding your reading list.
Be Respectful of Diverse Opinions: Remember that not everyone will have the same opinions or enjoy the same books. Respect differing viewpoints and engage in constructive dialogue. Listen actively and consider other perspectives.
Join or Start a Book Club: Book clubs provide a structured and social setting for discussing books. Consider joining an existing book club or starting with friends or like-minded readers. Book club meetings often involve lively discussions and the opportunity to explore different viewpoints.
Utilize Online Platforms: Engage in online communities, forums, or social media platforms focused on books and literature. Participate in discussions, share your thoughts, and connect with fellow book enthusiasts worldwide.
While talking about books, you should follow this advice:
1. Take notebooks
My first piece of advice is to take some notes as you’re reading. Review your notes and pick out a few little things you had written down, maybe questions or quotations that struck you as interesting. Whatever they are, they’re your impressions. Taking notes also helps, at least with memory.
So if you don’t take notes, you tend to forget. Also, it makes it much harder when it’s time to have a conversation. You can’t even remember very much detail about what you read. So take a notebook that always comes with you.
2. Be confident
Another thing to try to attain in your conversations about books is being confident in asserting your ideas and being open to having somebody else change your mind about something. You can say some assertive sentences like, oh? It’s something that makes for interesting dynamic conversation.
- Be confident and open to change, come into play, and make for a more interesting conversation.
3. Understand the book theme
When discussing a book, try to think like a writer, not a reader. Think about things beyond what the writer wanted you to see, the plot, character, themes, dialogue, whatever it is. Think about the choices that the writer was making. I’ve talked about this many times before, but it’s one of the things that makes for a more interesting conversation. So you should not read the book for the surface as a story. You need to read it as a work of art created by a creator.
So you’ll see us making predictions that did not come to pass and trying to pull together themes and figure out what held the novel together. One great thing to look at specifically when trying to do that is to look at a novel thematically.
4. Setup your intention
The best conversations and conversationalists always set the intention for the conversation. And this helps reduce awkward situations. That doesn’t happen when you set an intention. So before you say anything about any book to someone, ensure the listener is in the mood and wants to discuss the book.
Are you there to learn something about someone setting that minor intention? It helps you guide your conversation. You need that guiding drive to know what you want to discuss or ask. So set your intention before you even show up.
5. Focus on your approach & body language
You usually think about the first line when you think about the conversation. But research shows that our first impression doesn’t happen when we hear someone. It occurs when you first see someone. So the best conversationalist always approaches.
They almost start their conversation on the approach. When you’re about to initiate conversation, or you’re about to go to someone, introducing yourself is set yourself up. So the best first impression happens when you have nice open body language. You need your hands visible out of pockets, not in.
Helps with your trust cues. Then have your shoulders down and back. So shoulders down and back. Your smile is your opening line. Smile at someone who says it warms them upright to them going. It gets them already going. It’s like your opening line a little bit, your smile.
Conversation sparks are the nonverbal cue for curiosity and engaging someone to go. Everyone does one thing when they are super engaged: the eyebrow raise. That means you’re listening.
Bonus tip – Don’t interrupt
Don’t interrupt them. Look for the pivot when you want to be approached or talk to someone else. That’s when someone talks to each other, but their body is angled out. Their toes are angled out. That means they’re much more available to approach, and you want to do the same.
So make sure you pivot towards the room that signals people that you are open physically and literally. Be a good listener when someone talks and give them space and time to finish their opinion. It’s the best way to enjoy the conversation.
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