What is your group “In the Mood” for?

1001 Books for Every Mood, by Hallie Ephron

I’m an easy target for any book about books, but I especially enjoyed Hallie Ephron’s new book 1001 Books for Every Mood. Library presses publish many similar books, but unfortunately those books often come with reference book price tags. This one, like Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust volumes, is priced for everyday consumers. It’s the kind of book that I usually browse while I’m watching television, but in this case, the screen didn’t get much of my attention. I kept jumping through one page after another, curious about the topic of the next list or which books Ephron would place in each category.

1001 Books for Every Mood could be an excellent source for your book group. It’s stuffed full with annotated lists of books to satisfy every mood your group might want to indulge: the mood to laugh, to cry, to take a walk on the wild side, to celebrate siblings, to find romance, to take a trip down memory lane, and so on. Her selections are solid throughout, mixing both classics and recent publications, but with a focus on the kind of not-too-heavy literary fiction that book groups thrive on. Symbols that run throughout estimate each book’s literary merit and denote titles that are particularly provocative, influential, inspirational, humorous, easy-to-read, or difficult. Award winners and books that have been made into films are also noted. There’s even a website with reading group guides for many of the books that are featured.

Instead of using Ephron’s book to pick a single selection, you might pick one of her themes and let your readers choose a book from her list or select one of their own. You might have a good time compiling your own lists of books to fit varying moods. Book groups are like individual readers: they often need to select the next book to fill an ongoing need or to counteract the mood created by the last book. Ephron has provided a quick way to find a strong choice no matter what mood you’re in the need to satisfy.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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