National Reading Group Month
Since 2007, Women’s National Book Association’s initiative, National Reading Group Month, has promoted the value of book discussion groups, organized chapter author events in October, and created the annual Great Group Reads list of 20 top books for discussion groups.
National Reading Group Month Purpose
NRGM augments the WNBA’s mission to promote the value of books and reading. Through this initiative the organization aims to foster the values reading groups encourage: camaraderie, enjoyment of shared reading, and appreciation of literature and reading as conduits for transmitting culture and advancing civic engagement.
The goals of National Reading Group Month (NRGM) are:
- increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading
- provide a time for reading groups to celebrate their accomplishments and plan for the future
- provide opportunities for individuals to join an existing reading group or start a new one
- encourage libraries, bookstores, and organizations to host special reading group events
The WNBA launched National Reading Group Month in October 2007 as the premier event of its 90th anniversary.
National Reading Group Month is the innovation of sisters Martha Burns and Alice Dillon, Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) members and the authors of Reading Group Journal: Notes in the Margin (Abbeville Press).
In its inaugural year, the official signature event was held at The New York Center for Independent Publishing organized by the WNBA-New York City chapter. Eager readers met authors, swapped tips, shared reading suggestions, and left with armloads of new reads. Chapter cities held events that featured bestselling authors and book club “favs” Hillary Carlip, Laura Dave, Beth Gutcheon, Jennifer Haigh, Wally Lamb, Jamie Saul, Matthew Sharpe, Beverly Swerling, and Adriana Trigiani.
For over 13 years, WNBA continued the tradition of annual events in the month of October produced by each of its chapters. A portion of the proceeds from selected NRGM events is donated to the US Fund for UNICEF.
In 2009, the National Reading Group Month launched its Great Group Reads initiative.
What is Great Group Reads?
Great Group Reads provides an annual list of 20 top titles selected for book discussion groups. The list was initially created to support National Reading Group Month. While still an important part of NRGM, Great Group Reads has become a well-regarded resource throughout the literary community. Each year hundreds of books are submitted by publishers to be considered for the list. The list is then distributed to book clubs independent bookstores, libraries, and educators throughout the country.
Throughout the year, the Bookwoman Book Club reads books from the lists and talks about them at a monthly discussion. When possible, we host events with GGR authors to learn more about them and their books.
If you’d like to learn more about Great Group Reads, we have GGR information for general readers, interested publishers, and members who’d like to join the GGR committee. You can also see all of the annual lists!
Contact the Great Group Reads Committee
Kristen Knox, Great Group Reads Chair: ggr [at] wnba-books.org
Susan Walker, NRGM Event Coordinator: nrgm-events [at] wnba-books.org
Pamela Milam, Great Group Reads Coordinator: ggr-coordinator [at] wnba-books.org
Linda Rosen, Great Group Reads Coordinator: ggr-coordinator2 [at] wnba-books.org