Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Club Exchange - Robin Maxwell

Yesterday, I reviewed a historical fiction book O, JULIET by Robin Maxwell. I really enjoyed this book and I especially appreciate Ms. Maxwell's interpretation of the classic Romeo and Juliet story.

I'd like to welcome Ms. Maxwell to Book Club Exchange, a regular feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! I thoroughly enjoyed her essay about book clubs in general how her she enjoys meeting with book clubs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Apparently, some folks were offended at Sunday's Bud Light Super Bowl advertisement that featured several dumb guys hijacking the "refreshments" (cans of Bud Light) at a women's book group meeting. That wasn't my reaction at all. What I found fascinating was that a reading group was used as a location for one of the most watched and most expensive advertisements of 2010. It means that this beloved institution of ours has become as ubiquitous as yoga (which in the last couple of years has been used to advertise EVERYTHING from mattresses, to cars, to McDonald's). It means reading groups are now recognized as a massively important social and cultural function and phenomenon.

And the recognition, in my estimation, is well-deserved. I don't know the full history of book groups, but I think we can thank Oprah for a big boost, and authors like Donna Woolfolk Cross who, with her originally obscure historical novel, POPE JOAN, and the interest of many hundreds of reading groups, not only launched that title into international bestsellerdom, but proved the power of small groups of women to influence the publishing industry.


Personally, I never write a book anymore without including "Discussion Points" for my Readers Guide, as well as a link to those questions on my website. It has become a measure of success for my author friends and me to say that lots of book clubs are inviting us to do "remote phone events".

I enjoy book group events (live or remote) quite a bit more than book store readings because everyone who attends has already read my book, and the quality and depth of the questions asked are always head-and-shoulders above those of an audience that knows little or nothing about it. This just make the experience more pleasurable for me. And of course from a purely selfish point of view, any group that invites me to their meeting has already embraced my work, and that is a gorgeous feelings for any author.


So reading groups...you have arrived. I appreciate and applaud you. Have fun and keep reading!


*****

Robin Maxwell calls herself "one of the old broads of historical fiction." O, JULIET is her eighth book, but the first one devoted exclusively to matters of the heart. She just celebrated 26 years of marriage to her darling yogi husband, Max Thomas, the love of her life. Check out Ms. Maxwell's blog to learn more.

I am so grateful to Ms. Maxwell for sharing her essay about book clubs with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.

7 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I guess I was socializing too much to have seen that commercial! I think that is fantastic!

bermudaonion said...

I agree! I never really saw what all the fuss over that commercial was about anyway.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree that Oprah gave book clubs a big boost, not to mention reading generally, and I'm so glad she did!

CelticLady said...

Dang!! and I thought I was all those commercials!!

Amused said...

I wish I had seen that commercial but I agree that everyone seems to know about book clubs now and I love it! Great post!

Serena said...

great guest post about the commercial. I loved it.

Beth F said...

That was my reaction to the commercial too -- first, it was kind of funny, and second, it showed a book club! Yay for readers.

I never thought about the difference between reading at a bookstore and attending a book club meeting from the author's viewpoint. I can certainly see how being a book club meeting could be very rewarding.