A News(paper)worthy Book Club

The Kansas City Star has developed an interesting twist on the community-wide book group. Since 2000, the Star’s FYI Book Club has been profiling books, interviewing authors, gathering diverse readers, hosting discussions and then reporting the process. It’s one of the most popular activities/features in the newspaper.

In 2003 I was invited to be one of the Star‘s Book Club participants. We read Rick Bragg‘s All Over But the Shoutin. As an added treat, our book group met Mr. Bragg while he visited Kansas City on a book tour for this title.

Group leader Deborah Shouse invites new readers from all over the city to participate in the book group every couple of months. Rarely do any of the readers know each other and they all hold a variety of reading preferences. It’s never the same group of readers twice.

Star Books Editor, John Mark Eberhart profiles the discussion selection with a great synopsis and evaluation and throws in a couple of book excerpts and a lengthy author interview. Interested newspaper readers can pick up the book at any of the Kansas City metro area libraries and read along.end

About six weeks after the book’s introduction in the FYI section, excerpts from the reading group’s discussion will be posted along with photos and short bios of all the readers. In September, readers will gather to discuss the National Book Award finalist, Then We Came to the End. This debut novel by Joshua Ferris was a surprise bestseller, charming critics, readers, and cubicle dwellers across the nation.

For anyone who has ever wasted an afternoon gossiping with those folks in Accounting or shot rubber bands over the cube walls or completely dismantled a vacationing coworker’s cube, your tribe is captured between the covers of this sardonic, sad and snort-worthy novel.

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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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