Have you ever participated in a book club group, or wished you could form a group? There are so many reasons to join a book club or to start your own.

It's an excellent way to enjoy books and challenge your mind. Participating in a book club encourages you to read more, and opens your mind to reading books you might not normally select.

It can also provide you with the opportunity to have fun and make new friends!

The Newport Beach Public Library can get you started with a book discussion group with our collection of "Book Club in a Bag" kits. Each bag includes 10 paperbacks along with suggested book discussion questions, a summary of the book, and biographical information about the author.

Checking out a "Book Club in a Bag" is easy. Each bag can be checked out for a four-week period and renewed for a two-week period twice if there are no existing holds on the bag.

The person who places a hold on the items must check them out, and this person is responsible for the return of the bag and all of its contents.

The 13 titles currently available in the Newport Beach Public Library system include:

"Beautiful Lies: A Novel" by Lisa Unger

"Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race…" by Christopher McDougall (nonfiction)

"The Calligrapher's Daughter: A Novel" by Eugenia Kim

"Chang and Eng" by Darin Strauss

"A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron

"The Forest Lover" by Susan Vreeland

"The Giant's House: A Novel" by Elizabeth McCracken

"Handle With Care: A Novel" by Jodi Picoult

"Intuition: A Novel" by Allegra Goodman

"The Other Wes Moore: the Story of One Name and Two Fates" by Wes Moore (nonfiction)

"Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson

"The Red Garden" by Alice Hoffman

"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield

Selected titles were chosen to represent a diversity of subject matters and involve topics that lend themselves toward wonderful book discussions. You can request these titles from the Newport Beach Public Library's online catalog (www.newportbeachlibrary.org) or in person at any of the four Newport Beach Public Library locations.

After you check them out, book bags can be returned to a staff member at any one of our four Newport Beach Public Library branches.

Also, if you would like more information about forming a book discussion group, check out the Newport Beach Public Library's materials such as: "The New York Public Library Guide to Reading Groups" by Rollene Saal, "Good Books Lately: The One-Stop Resource for Book Groups and Other Greedy Readers" by Ellen Moore and Kira Stevens, or "The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience" by Diana Loevy.

Additional information can also be found online with sites such as http://www.bookbrowse.com or http://www.book-clubs-resource.com. Enjoy!

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.