By December 30, 2009 6 Comments Read More →

What about the not-so-literary books?

Earlier this month, I wondered if groups would read long books.  Now I’m wondering, would you convince your group to try a “mainstream” fiction title?  There are lots of genre-based groups out there (groups who read only mysteries, or SF, for example) but, what if someone proposed a Stephen King book?  Many readers automatically dismiss his books as horror, or “fluff” reading, but honestly, many of his works have really interesting themes regarding society and morality, and serve as fascinating allegories.

What would your group do?  I know mine would probably all stay home in protest… I’m not sure I could convince them that something like Stephen King would be “worthy” of discussion.  And yet, the constant refrain I get from them is that they love it when we choose books they wouldn’t normally read, as it gets them out of their rut or turns them on to something they never would have picked up.

How about your group?  Or your thoughts, personally (not just on King, but any bestseller-type fiction in general)?

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About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

6 Comments on "What about the not-so-literary books?"

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  1. readbabbette@yahoo.com' Elisabeth says:

    I was once part of a book club that read The DaVinci Code, which is the only reason I read it. It provided for decent discussion as in our group we had several Catholics and a Greek Orthodox. But in the end, it didn’t change my opinion of the book or the genre. I’m happy for these to exist, as there are many folks who will only read this type of book, but they just aren’t for me.

  2. keith.mclean@airdriepubliclibrary.ca' Keith says:

    Length might be a problem with Stephen King novels. His newest Under the Dome is 1088 pages. The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption might work for book groups.

  3. hwehmeyer@gmail.com' Holly says:

    My book group just read The Watchmen, a graphic novel, which was very outside our usual fare. Group consensus was that we were glad to have read it, but we had a lively discussion about whether or not it qualified as literature.

  4. soaib@sbcglobal.net' veronica says:

    I think it’s a great suggestion. We all need to be nudged a little out of our comfort zone. My son is also a booksnob, who doesn’t think ANY novel is worth reading. I’m trying to convince him otherwise

  5. atodd@phpl.inrfo' Alex says:

    Last October, we had a horror theme, my members got choose among Interview with a Vampire, a King book (forget which one) and Koontz’ Odd Thomas. They chose Odd Thomas and it led to a solid discussion.

    My group reads a wide variety of titles, non-fiction, biographies, a mystery here and there, ‘classics’, etc. They don’t all enjoy each and every title, but they do appreciate being moved outside their comfort zone.

  6. ckubala@columbiactlibrary.org' CarolK says:

    I think our groups are afraid to read something considered fluffy. Our fiction group is comprised of women mostly over 55. One young member suggests books we might not consider and her choices are infrequently picked. I wish our group would consider some of these as “fluff” might surprise some of our readers. I’m glad we choose to read a classic each year. Most of our choices are mainstream but certain genres like romance, sci-fi, mystery and certain authors, a good example being King, seem to have a prayer in heck of getting picked.

    I love the idea of a graphic but bet it would never happen…

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