The editors and writers of Book World invite you to join The Washington Post Book Club, a monthly program that we hope will quickly evolve into a conversation between us and the readers of Book World.

Each month a book will be presented to members of the club by a staff member of Book World or, from time to time, a guest presenter. The books will be chosen for any number of reasons: They are important, they are provocative, they are books that we love.

This is how it works. Joining the club is easy -- please see the application form on the back page of today's Book World, or go to The Post's Website, http://www.washingtonpost. com/bookclub -- and it's free. You may wish to join the club as an individual; you may want to start a club of your own and employ our list; or you may choose to incorporate our books into a book club to which you already belong.

On the first Sunday of each month, we will publish a brief reader's guide to the selection, written by the editor or writer who is presenting it. Then it's up to you to read the book.

On the last Friday of that month the presenter will go online at Washingtonpost.com to discuss the book with you. If you aren't Web-capable, don't worry: You will also be invited to send written comments on the selection to Book World's Forum. We will publish a number of these.

Occasionally the authors whose books we present will come to Washington to discuss their work at special events, and members of the club will be entitled to discounts for these occasions. The first of these occasions will feature House of the Spirits author Isabel Allende on Tuesday, Oct. 19. We will give you more information on this in future announcements in Book World.

The first reader's guide will be published in Book World on September 5. To give you a head start, here are the first six months' selections. We look forward to discussing these books with you.

-- Book World editors

September

The Old Forest and Other Stories, by Peter Taylor. Presented by Jonathan Yardley.

October

The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende. Presented by Marie Arana.

November

Suder, by Percival Everett. Presented by Jabari Asim.

December

Close Range: Wyoming Stories, by Annie Proulx. Presented by K. Francis Tanabe.

January

The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Presented by Michael Dirda.

February

Young Men and Fire, by Norman Maclean. Presented by Dennis Drabelle.