Check out this fantastic guest post about one of my very favorite subjects -- the importance of book clubs.
Why Book Clubs Make Reading Better
Last week I went to the initial meeting of a book club formed by female writers who live in my borough of New York City: Manhattan. (All those hip Brooklyn writers can start their own book club.) My other book club—now I’m in two—reads only books that have stood the test of time (tonight were talking about Moon Tiger, a 1987 novel by the great English writer Penelope Lively)—but the new group’s commitment is to recent novels. I loved discussing the award-winning novel du jour with other writers, who swooned over insights and metaphors (“The promise of her body was buried under layers of no and not yet.”) Then we did what all book clubs do, fell into a spirited discussion of whether our heroine had been stood up in the Alps or if the new man in her life failed to show because he’d been murdered.
The latter hadn’t occurred to me. This is what I especially love about being in a book club. Considering a book through other readers’ eyes enlarges the experience far more than the Brie and Chardonnay. Not that cheese and wine don’t add to the occasion. To that point, you might want to read this article about book clubs in The New York Times where I was quoted and must offer a mea culpa, because I was talking about a past book club, not either of the current two to which I belong. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/opinion/sunday/really-youre-not-in-a-book-club.html.)
When a group discusses one of my books, I am ecstatic. Quite a few clubs have read my first three novels, and now that The Widow Waltz it’s out in paperback, I’m hoping it will get on book clubs’ schedule. Quite a few topics lend themselves to conversation, even heated debate.
- When the husband of the main character, Georgia Waltz, suddenly dies, she learns that he’s left her nothing. If this happened to you, how would you respond?
- Georgia husband has lee a secret life. What blocked Georgia from seeing the truth? Do you think this happens to many wives?
- Georgia’s daughters are as unlike as honey and sardines. How does the novel comment on nature vs. nurture in addressing having an adopted child as well as a biological one?
- Georgia must rebuild her life. If faced with this challenge, how would you imagine you’d move forward? Could you have made the same decision that Georgia did at the end of the book? What allows people to move on from betrayals?
A complete discussion guide for The Widow Waltz is here: http://www.sallykoslow.com/content/book_widow_waltz_guide.asp
If your book club that wants to discuss The Widow Waltz, I’d love to join in the conversation through FaceTime if you write to me on my website and ask: www.sallykoslow.com!
If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.