Book Group Wars

If you think of book groups as the most benign of gatherings, think again, according to an article in The New York Times.  Apparently they’re hotbeds of politics and infighting.  Some groups are even hiring professional facilitators.

I was especially struck by the reference in the aticle to “flinging a drink in the face of a member who suggests reading Trollope.” Poor Trollope–he seems to stand for stuffy literature that’s a slog to read, but he’s my favorite author.  Today I brought to work my copy of Phineas Finn to lend to a colleague whose book group members are tackling it –under duress, it seems.  Among Trollope novels, I wouldn’t select  Phineas Finn as the one most most likely to turn people into converts.  I’d try The Way We Live Now (adapted for television a few years ago by the BBC and shown on Masterpiece Theatre) if members have the stomach for a long novel, but Trollope wrote plenty of shorter ones as well. 

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The Trollope Society has  a Web site with daily quotes, contests,  recommendations (best Trollope beach reading), searchable character and place indexes, a tool for converting mid-Victorian incomes into present-day values,  and other fun (well, fun for Trollope fans) stuff. 

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About the Author:

Mary Ellen Quinn is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Librarianship (2014), the former editor of Reference Books Bulletin, and a long-time contributing writer to Booklist.

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