By Carole.

Do you like to read?

Reading Groups are a fun and relaxed place to chat about books!  Not only do we talk about interesting books, but we also chat about our cultures, countries and how we adjust to our new homes and lives in Ann Arbor. Reading Groups are a great way to improve your English and make many new friends!

Our five groups started the year meeting in members’ homes, where we shared delicious snacks or meals, recipes and adventures. When the pandemic interrupted all that in March, we quickly moved to virtual meetings on Zoom. We knew it was very important to continue our friendships and support, in spite of the stay-at-home orders!

We have been meeting weekly or two times a month through the summer and will continue into the fall on Zoom. Virtual meetings also bring friendship, warmth and support to our members!  Join  us and share our passion for reading and chatting about books!

Our groups are from Low-Intermediate (we read about 30 pages each meeting) to Advanced (we read one book each month).

Low-Intermediate Group: Although our level is low-intermediate we have also read more challenging books and magazines. We select from fiction, non-fiction and short stories, reading approximately 30 pages every two weeks. Everyone gets time to ask lots of questions and learn about each other.  Sharing our cultures and experiences is as important as improving your reading skills. The most important reason to join is to make new friends! This year we read a Reader’s Digest magazine and a book of O. Henry short stories.

The Mystery Book Group: Do you enjoy mysteries? Do you like to figure out who committed the crime in a book? Do you ask yourself why characters in a certain book behave the way they did in the story? If you like discussing the ins and outs of a crime novel, the Mystery Book Group is the one for you! We meet every week and we might read as much as 50 pages a week. In the past few months, our group has read “Thirty-Three Teeth” by Colin Cotterill, a book set in Laos; “Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, set in Egypt; and “1222” by Anne Holt, set in Norway.

High-Intermediate Group: We’ve been so happy to welcome back former members who had returned to their home countries or who had moved elsewhere in the U.S.! They’re now able to participate in our discussions via Zoom. It’s very exciting to see each other again! They come from four different continents and five different countries! So, one (only?) good thing to happen because of COVID-19! When we were able to meet in person, we used a “Question Box” with questions submitted by the group to structure our discussion. By doing, that, each group member had a chance to ask a question and respond to a question. Now that we meet on Zoom, we write the questions in the Chat section and are able to use that as our virtual “Question Box.” This year we read “Educated” by Tara Westover, “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” by Gail Honeyman, and we are currently reading “Born a  Crime” by Trevor Noah.

Tuesday Advanced Group: Please join our friendly group of 10-12 intermediate to advanced English readers. We enjoy reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that are chosen by our members. Facilitation is shared by group leaders and group members. We meet twice a month on Zoom for an hour and a half and generally read one book a month. Some of the books we read this year were “White Chrysanthemum” by Mary Lynn Bracht, “Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and “Educated” by Tara Westover.

Thursday Advanced Group: Interested in reading a book a month and diving deep with a dozen of your closest friends? This group is open to new members. Format includes reading one member-driven title each month, fiction and non-fiction, and many with international flare followed by a group discussion on what it means for culture, society, and the world at large. Recent examples include: “ Boys in the Boat” by Daniel Brown, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, “Educated” by Tara Westover, “ Shanghai Free Taxi”, “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman, “The Color Purple”, “Britt Marie Was Here”, “Homegoing”, “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood, and “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand”. We will be fully virtual this Fall, with plans to transition post-COVID to in-person sessions hosted in member homes. To fully participate, we encourage members to embrace literary challenges and who are comfortable sharing their ideas.  Join us for fun, learning, and meeting a wonderful set of engaging bookworms.

You can read each Reading Group description on our website and sign up to join a group from there. If you have questions, email Carole at reading@international-neighbors.org

Reading Group slides

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