By December 22, 2007 1 Comments Read More →

Don’t Go to the Book Group without…

In a previous life, I taught the Great Literature to ungrateful, deadline-ignoring, homesick freshmen and sophomores. I loved encouraging them wrap their brains around the many meanings of the rose in “A Rose for Emily.” All that short story/play/poetry explication and analysis in my academic past paid off big time in my librarian future.

Until I learned otherwise, I ran my reading groups the way I ran my Lit 101 classes, constantly asking the readers what they thought objects, places, or names meant. Most readers liked the thoughtful examination of a story’s elements, still others told me to “lighten up.”

What I did instead was look for less scholarly ways to discuss the more meaningful parts of a selection. Which leads me to my absolute favorite reading group reference, How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.

Foster employs an ebullient and educated tone to his literary criticism and will actually bring forth laughter in the chapter on vampires.

Readers who groan whenever a facilitator wants to discuss the hidden meanings in a literary work, whether it’s Plath, Morrison, Hemingway or Picoult, will find looking for the “clues” to the story much more enjoyable with a little guidance from Foster and improve their own powers of reading observation as well.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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