By November 5, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Part III

Third time lucky.

Or not.  I read Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and reported back on March 21, 2010 and then again on October 8th this year after our local book discussion.  Now, it was onto the Wisconsin Library Association.

The Readers Section of WLA is devoted to story.  Besides a ton of other programming at this year’s convention, they scheduled me to lead one of my two annual (the other being at the spring public library conference) book discussion.  I picked this title but did not choose the start time of 8:45 a.m. in the morning opposite a number of other panels.

Recipe for disaster.  There are so many factors that go into scheduling a book discussion in a setting like a library that when you add in the tension of conference attedance things don’t always go so well.  Librarians are constantly telling me that they wanted to come to my discussions but they can’t justify it to their bosses back home. 

Honestly, this might not be the easiest sell of a title as well.  I love this book and this is the third time I have read it obviously.  But try to sell a complex literary novel about 9/11 to your customers and you might begin to understand the problem.

So, what was the result.? I had two librarians show up who had read the book and one who had not but wanted to observe the discussion to see if the book would work in her library back home.


To my great surprise we went from zero to hero.  We had an intense, complex and very satisfying discussion of this title, including the person who had not read the book.  She kept asking for plot details and it was almost as if she were leading the discussion rather than me.  I feel like I did a bit more lecturing in this discussion than normal but then these were unusual circumstances.  The 75 mintues flew by and when we were done I was as happy as I would have been if we had 14 instead of 4.

Bottom line:  this book is such a great book and a great book to lead a discussion on that it overcomes many obstacles.  I would urge you to try it.  Also, there is about to be a feature length film of this title so that may add interest in your library.



About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

1 Comment on "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Part III"

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  1.' KateZ says:

    I think I posted on your last installment but our book club really loved this book AND the ensuing discussion. We had discussions prior to our meeting via email and after our meeting as follow up. Neither of those things is normal for our book club.

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