Once your group has decided on a particular book or film to discuss, here are some basic suggestions for finding resources. ENJOY the lively exchange of ideas between the book or film, and your members!
- FOR A SPECIFIC BOOK OR FILM. Do a search (using Google or your preferred search engine) on the title. Wikipedia will likely have a detailed entry with a plot synopsis (you may want to let group members know if there are any ‘spoilers’). Your search will reveal reviews, from both free sources and ‘paywall’ publications (such as The New York Times). For books, at Goodreads you’ll find a diverse selection of readers’ reviews and recommendations. My personal favorite source for literature synopses (I like to begin with a summary) and analysis, has a silly name, Shmoop, but great resources (several are free)… along with a sense of humor. Also, check the book publisher’s or film distributor’s website for such resources as background information, discussion questions. etc.
GETTING BOOKS OR FILMS: You can check out books, and films, from your local library (likely at no cost), download free public domain works (pre-1926) via links throughout this site or use the Online Books Page (over three million titles), or buy them from a local bookseller or retailer. I have an Amazon Associate link – at the bottom left of every page of this site: Thanks! Sources for free movies online include Tubi, IMDbTV, Crackle, YouTube Movies Free With Ads, Vudu Movies Free With Ads, Plex, Pluto, silent era classics via this site, or do a search.
- AUTHOR OR FILMMAKER. Do a search on their name to see if they have an individual website, or if there are any sites devoted to their work. For contemporaries, check YouTube for video interviews, discussions, or author readings.
- CONTEXT. Some people enjoy looking at a work in a wider context, including biographical (such as other books or films by the author), historical (relating to eras, social movements, the sciences, and more), and cultural (thematic comparisons with other books, or films using the IMDb, or works in such media as the visual arts, theater using the IBDB, music including opera and ballet for which there may be videos).
- DISCUSSION GUIDES. Many authors / publishers, and some filmmakers / film distributors have websites that include discussion questions, and additional resources. Ask your group members to share any resources that they recommend. Some basic discussion topics include, How does the book or film speak to your members personally? Does it illuminate a past era, and does it reflect the current social situation?