Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Story Rx: Ditch Oprah! Have your book club read something YA!

Are you in a book club? I am.

About two years ago now, I suggested the club to a group of smart, talented, funny mothers I met through my daughter's nursery school and didn't want to lose touch with. At the time, I was promising myself to write more, and reading fiction with others (smart, insightful others) seemed an important part of that picture.

Now, all credit to Oprah for encouraging people (let's say it, mostly women) to form similar book clubs all around the country. More credit to her for introducing said clubs to writers they might not have otherwise read: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Rohinton Mistry, Jeffrey Eugenides.

But what about shaking it up a little, ladies? Beautiful, eloquent, literary fiction is great - the authors above are some of my favorites. But sometimes I need to mix up my literary diet with fun, flash, or snark - things with which YA books are often rich to the brim. Last January, I suggested my book club read Sherman Alexie's smart, sassy, honest Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Outside of our book club, I got a fellow voracious reader in the group, LK, to become addicted to The Hunger Games. I'm wondering when my time to host comes around again, if I should suggest Going Bovine or Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

What I love about my book club is the ability to learn a little something about each person in it through the books she suggests. My friends have learned I'm a kid at heart - something I don't always wear on my sleeve. And if you think your fellow clubbers might be down on you for your lack of 'literary maturity' - point them to the following New York Times article on the lure of YA literature for adults: The Kids Books Are All Right. Hey, if the New York Times says its OK, it must be, right?

As for Oprah? Maybe she'll have Katniss and Peeta on her list soon.

And if you don't know who Katniss and Peeta are run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and buy The Hunger Games trilogy.

Then make your whole book club read it.


  1. Will Grayson (squared) ... or maybe Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Of course Going Bovine is quite a read, too... Sigh. So many books -- so little time!

  2. We chose to read Catcher in the Rye for our book club this month...wanted to get back to the Classics in honor of school starting :-)