Light and Airy and Discussable?

Next week my book group will be meeting to discuss The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. After reading Bennett’s delightful, enchanting novella, I cannot help but wonder if such an entertaining confection of a story will be discussable.

What makes a book discussable has been pondered on this blog before. Often groups bemoan having to read “one more depressing literary novel.” I am often asked by patrons–isn’t there anything fun that my book group can try?

While enjoyability and discussability are not diametrically opposed, it can be a challenge to find a book that is charming and light AND full of themes, characters and situations worthy of an hour or more of probing and pondering.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Like Elinor Lipman’s The Inn at Lake Divine or Straight Man by Richard Russo. I am grasping for other examples, though, of books that my group has read over the years that have been as uplifting or sweet as The Uncommon Reader.

I am already dreaming up different angles and questions for our discussion of the book. I am sure that it will be more than a “I loved it!” gush-fest.

Are there any books that you or your group approached with worry over their discussability? What were some sheer delights that also packed in plenty to talk about? Any brainy summer reads to share? Permission to dish….



About the Author:

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

1 Comment on "Light and Airy and Discussable?"

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  1.' Theresa says:

    Our book group enjoyed Christopher Buckley’s Boomsday. We read it just before the election in 2008. With an intergenerational group we had a good discussion that covered the book and Social Security in general.

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