First Author Post! Barbara Delinsky

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I'm so thrilled to have Barbara Delinsky, a reading group favorite author, as the first author to write a guest post for On the Bookcase!

Barbara has been in a book group for 23 years and Barbara's novels have great themes and interesting conflicts that are perfect for creating a lively conversation for reading groups. So, why did it take until last November for  Barbara's "Book Group" to read one of her novels? In her post, Barbara shares with us her book group origins, her author chats with hundreds of reading groups, and the decision to discuss her book with her own and the momentous occasion. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Barbara.

November was a banner month for me.  My book group actually discussed one of my books. If this doesn’t seem momentous to you, here’s the backstory.

My book group has been meeting for 23 years. It was started by two local teachers, each of whom invited friends who invited friends. The group that resulted was a collection of women who didn’t know each other well, simply shared an interest in books. We never gave ourselves a name. We just call ourselves … Book Group.

There were no Oprah choices when we first organized. But we had no trouble picking books. Whereas each month’s meeting is held over coffee and dessert at a rotating host’s home, to pick our list we meet at a restaurant for dinner every June. There, each of us pitches several books we want to discuss and, quite democratically, we vote.

Our selections have been eclectic, ranging from fiction to non-fiction, classics to hot new it books. With no other writer in the group, I’ve always been able to bring a different perspective to the discussion. In recent years, the occasional mention was made of discussing one of my books. Being a modest sort, I was uncomfortable with that and always rejected the idea. Until last June.

Why my change of heart? Two reasons.  First, I discuss my books in book group meetings all the time – over 200 of them in the last three years. Granted, these meetings are by speakerphone, but the discussions have been intimate and compelling. How ridiculous it seemed for me to do this with other book groups and not my own.

Second, my group has discussed some pret-ty bad books of late, even ones that other groups have gone ga-ga over.  There have also been some wonderful books that we all loved but that offered little meat for discussion. By the time we were choosing out 2009-10 list last June, though, I was coming to think, thanks to the praise of book groups with which I had talked, that my books were both page-turners and discussion-sparkers.

So my own group did it – discussed While My Sister Sleeps in November, and the talk went on long past our usual cut-off time. Granted we digressed into issues relating to the process of writing and the quirks of publishing.  But the book and its characters dominated the night.

Will I do this again with my group? Not quickly, since we try not to repeat authors.  My only regret, actually, is that my new book hadn’t been for sale at the time and available for my group to discuss. Not My Daughter (Jan 5, 2010), is perhaps the best discussion book I’ve written. It raises the good mother question, as in, what it takes to be one.  My book group would love this. We’ve all had mothers. Most of us are mothers ourselves. No doubt, every one of us would have something to say on this very potent and timeless issue.

Thanks again, Barbara!

How do you select books and what's your favorite discussible book? Log in, comment, and start the conversation! Below is a video teaser for Not My Daughter.  

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I think that it would be very hard to discuss a book that someone wrote that is a member of the book group, for both the writer and the other members of the group. Her new book, "Not My Daughter," sounds really interesting. I can't wait to read it!

Enjoyed reading Barbara D's

Enjoyed reading Barbara D's post about her book group. I agree with her that authors' call-ins to book groups can be "intimate and compelling." Our book club has had several authors call in to our discussion and we have gain great insight from the author's comments and from the questions the authors have asked us! Looking forward to reading Not My Daughter.

Barbara Delinsky

Great post. love her books and my group read Family Tree. We select our books like Barbara -- once a year. We pick the books at our holiday party. Not My Daughter does sound good and could spark some great discussion within our group -- half our group doesn't have kids so their perspective would be interesting! Thanks for posting Barbara D's essay.

What an interesting story.

What an interesting story. How lucky is it to have Barbara Delinsky in your book club. Who would have thought it would have taken this long for one of her books to be chosen. Our club usually allows each member to choose a book, which pushes us to read things we wouldn't normally read. This past year we had a lot of great books to discuss, but the Art of Racing in the Rain was our winner. I can't wait to read Barbara Delinsky's new book. It sounds like it will be great for discussion.