I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel today at the NY Public Library discussing book clubs with librarians from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx and it was such a terrific experience. The panel was moderated by Carol Fitzgerald, creator of ReadingGroupGuides.com, the absolute go-to resource for reading groups. On the panel with me were Victoria Lustbader, author of the newly released Stone Creek, which many of you commented on here, as well as Elizabeth Noble, whose most recent novel is Things I Want My Daughters to Know.
We had a wonderful time discussing the strength of women's fiction published this year, like the two books above, and also about all the great books we've read in our book clubs and how we've responded to different titles. We learned so much from the librarians in the audience--they were one of the most informative, enlightened and energized group of readers I've been around in a while!
Elizabeth, who is also the author of course, of The Reading Group, so she's heard a lot of book group stories, had a great way of describing the different types that one finds in a book group -- they either, she said, read to learn, to think or to feel. I thought this was such an interesting comment and it made me think about which type of reader I am. The learner will often nominate a nonfiction book or something that when she reads it, is going to teach her a lot, she wants to spend her time reading also learning. The feeler wants to read about emotions and people's lives and wants to care deeply about the people she's reading about. And the thinker wants to ponder higher more complex issues and in a way, is a bit of an amalgam of both the learner and the feeler. Victoria insightfully commented that the reason that historical fiction is so popular is that it allows us to both learn and feel. (Check out Victoria's first novel, Hidden, a historical novel set in 1920s NYC). I personally think that's why historical fiction has been so popular in my group.
Which type of reader do you think you are? Tell me which and why in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of both Stone Creek and Things I Want My Daughters to Know along with a great tote to take them to the beach this summer.
And speaking of summer reading, our host the NY Public Library has just launched a website for summer reading that addresses every member of your family -- from toddlers to adults! Check it out.