First Author Post! Barbara Delinsky
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.