Everybody into the Book Group!

They are a boisterous and creative lot at the joint Oregon/Washington Library Association conference. Last Thursday I presented a sesssion called “Book Group CPR: Breathe New Life into Your Discussion Group.” I thought I wouldn’t have enough material to give the audience and it turns out, they had plenty of material to share with me! Handouts for the progam will be uploaded here.

After a discussion on the pros and cons of themed book groups (a topic I willl address in greater depth in a later post unless someone’s beaten me to it), we brainstormed ways to dress up an existing book group’s meeting and chat about Luncheon of the Boating Party.

I have mentioned Susan Vreeland‘s latest novel before in this blog. I think it will become a book group staple. A member of the audience asked about this particular book and wanted it to be the focus of the exercise, “because my group is doing it next week and I don’t have anything planned.”

I tossed the title and query out to the audience and they did not disappoint. They started right in on the food.  Suggested servings included wine (!), grapes, bread, cheese, French pastries and “a spread that looks like the one in the painting.”

Then the audience started to have fun with the concept. Some of the ideas bandied about were: Everyone wear a hat. Bring in a costume historian to discuss the dress of all the models in the painting. Have the book group attendees reenact the various models’ poses and hold it for five minutes. Play music of the time. Bring in all those over-size Impressionist painting books and check them out to attendees. Ask someone to pronounce all the French phrases and words in the novel and provide definitions or American slang equivalents for some of the expletives. Someone shouted for a can-can demonstration.

Sorry, folks. I left my ruffled bloomers in Kansas City.

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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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