The previous blog post was all about starting a book group and choosing titles that members might enjoy reading and discussing. And, of course one genre that certainly is worthy of looking at are books about…book groups. There are some terrific titles, each with idiosyncratic charm, which can be found at the Monrovia Public Library.
Azar Nafisi taught at the University of Tehran in Iran after the revolution brought stringent rules for women. In Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books she tells the story of a book club she led during the country’s tumultuous political and social events. Discussing literature, including Nabokov’s stunning novel Lolita, the students talk about their own lives.
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler is about a group of 5 women and 1 man who read and discuss only books by the great English author. Ms. Fowler mirrors Austen’s wit, ear for dialog and keen observations of relationships in this modern homage.
Mary Ann Shafer’s epistolary (letters tell the story) novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about how some residents of the English island of Guernsey met under the noses of the German occupiers during World War II. At first pretending to be a book club while practicing subterfuge, the residents discover the solace that reading brings during hard times.
One of literature's greatest books is the center of Dinner with Anna Karenina by Gloria Goldreich. In New York, some women who meet regularly to discuss books discover just how important their group becomes as they share the joys and difficulties of their own lives when they meet.