By February 27, 2008 2 Comments Read More →

Beloved Authors & Wiki Bios

Since I will be traveling to London this week, I cannot help but think about the many British authors that I count among my favorites.  Chief among them is the great George Eliot.

I love Eliot so much that I have to admit that I have been afraid to schedule any of her books for my book group.  What if they hate Middlemarch or Daniel Deronda, call them too long or boring? What if they don’t love Maggie Tulliver in Mill on the Floss as much as I do?  What if they (gasp!) don’t finish?  Most of the time I expect these kinds of comments or situations, but I don’t know if I could bear it with a cherished author.  Call me chicken, but I just haven’t been able to brave it.  Yet.  And it’s not just the fear that they might not like Eliot, it’s the fear that I might not facilitate the best possible discussion commensurate with my deep and abiding respect for the author.  Does anyone else ever send themselves into a panic over such things?

I mean, the last paragraph of Middlemarch makes me cry every time I turn to it.  Here is the last sentence: “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Wow.  How could anyone read that (and read more than 700 pages to get there) and remain unmoved?  That right there is writing!

My own silly fears aside, I also got to thinking about the reminder emails I generally send to the group a week prior to our meeting.  I like to include links to author interviews or discussion questions or biographical information–I like to throw in a little something extra.

Now, were I to do George Eliot, whose life I found as fascinating as her fiction, I couldn’t expect the group to read, say, Rosemary Ashton’s biography.  This is a book group, not a literature course!  So, I would most likely provide some nice links or email an article from Literature Resource Database.  Even easier, there’s Wikipedia!

Now I just need to get over my own Eliot crush and trust my group (and myself) to take on one of her Victorian tomes for size.  Just writing this down makes me feel a little more brave.  And after a taste of London, I may have to sign us up for a draught.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

2 Comments on "Beloved Authors & Wiki Bios"

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  1. mquinn@ala.org' Mary Ellen says:

    Middlemarch is one of my favorite novels, Misha. Maybe we could have a book group of two.

  2. mishamstone@yahoo.com' misha says:

    That sounds great!

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