By January 13, 2008 2 Comments Read More →

Them’s fightin’ words

mgoge.jpgI’m at ALA and we’re talking about memorable book group books. My favorite book group story is an old one, about ten years old now. The first nonfiction book I used in a book group was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

For three weeks I heard from over 15 readers opinions ranging from, “I HATE this book! It’s not going anywhere!” to “I LOVE this book. I don’t want it to end!”

No one was in the middle regarding MITGOG&E. I anticipated a discussion complete with sabres and cannons and readers dressed in either Yankee blue or Rebel grey. I knew the exchanges would be heated that evening. However, no matter what anyone said about the book, I encouraged each reader to attend.

On the night the book group was to meet, I brought the usual accoutrements with me: discussion topics, coffee, banana bread, and masking tape. I took the masking tape and laid down a line that divided the room equally into two parts.  As each participant entered the room I pointed to the two areas and explained. “This is the Mason-Dixon line. If you didn’t like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, go sit on that side. That’s the North. If you liked Midnight in the Garden, then sit on this side, it’s the South.”

This may seem rather silly, but it helped dispel some of the strong feelings running wild in the room that night. Everyone also received a rather comical picture of how disparate their opinions could be, but assurance that it’s perfectly acceptable to love/hate a book and discuss it with someone holding a completely opposite opinion.

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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.

2 Comments on "Them’s fightin’ words"

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  1. mmoran@northwestms.edu' maggie says:

    I love it! May I steal this proven technique? ;D

  2. kaitestover@kclibrary.org' Kaite says:

    Sure, thieve away. No one’s making their first million working at a library. ;)~

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