Reading groups are one of the success stories of the age, newspapers are writing about them; celebrities are forming them. There are more than 50,000 people in reading groups in the UK (and this is nothing compared to the numbers in America). They take place in libraries, businesses, bookshops, pubs, hospitals, community centres, but, above all, in the home. Friendships are formed. People argue and sometimes the discussion can lead to people swapping views that they would never share in other circumstances. But is the reading group really such a new phenomenon? How do they choose and use books? What kinds of social protocols and rituals do they observe and what do they mean? Why are men less likely to be members? Why do some groups work while others fail? Jenny Hartley surveyed over 330 reading groups to find the truth behind this modern phenomenon. Answers are provided in book, full of anecdotes and comments from members. It is both a contribution to the sociology of group discussion and a "how to' manual, incorporating lots of useful extra information about resources and lists of the top books chosen.