This month, I'll celebrate ten years of facilitating book clubs.
After an accumulation of varied career experiences ranging from cleaning lady to university lecturer, I’ve fashioned my own profession as a book discussion facilitator.
The title is new. My philosophy about books is a dead old one. When I started facilitating book groups for a living, my mantra was, "I like all my authors very dead." People were uncomfortable with this morose statement but the reasoning was practical. I was asking my members to commit hours of their own time to reading and discussion thus I better be sure that the title is top notch. Quality reading allows the reader to see literary connections to our larger word, Hence I coined "biblio-nexu" that means exactly that. Works as a noun, a verb, an adjective. You know it when you see it, feel it or it happens.
Humbled I am by my book group members, who every month, return to the table to seriously discuss literature. They know that recommending title suggestions is encouraged. And my email inbox reflects their enthusiasm with a steady stream of book candidates, articles, links to author interviews, websites, etc. From publishers, I receive reading guides, sneak peeks, more lists and more new book titles to consider.
For a while, I tried to get out of my staid thinking. I tried to get behind contemporary lit recommendations. I tried to remain ever so calm and not verbally project a cacophony of f-bomb enriched rage whenever I saw yet another book title containing the word “girl.” Perhaps living authors have something to offer? An atta boy to Attenberg is completely appropriate. I bow in reverence to Barnes. I love Franzen and wish him a long healthy life.
However, as I approach a decadal anniversary, I feel, ahem, entitled, to loose the alive author altruism. This doesn't mean I am not open to aerobic authors. However, I am empowered to know my “dead is good” philosophy has panned out to be true. Good books, like classic fashion, never go out of style. Some titles can be hot, for a while, like a corset, but then better quality prevails. Your old Steinbecks always fit comfortably well.
As I raise my library card to toast ten years, I am re-embracing my authors of past. If the caliber of a title can remain endeared after the scribe is dearly departed, then I'll consider it worth my readers’ precious time.
About my contemporary pfft lit attitude, a friend recently said, "You go, girl."