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The writer as consumer

We’ve all been bitten by it — the desire to get into print, to be successful, to catch the golden ring. It’s a drive that can become so compelling that we lose track of common sense and those little voices that say, “Watch out!”

Book clubs don’t read poetry

They don’t read poetry. Or short stories. Or plays. At least, they rarely do. I discovered this during my conversations with dozens of Minnesota clubs over the past few months.

A brilliant bit of timing?

The celebration of National Reading Group Month starts next Thursday. But not in the Twin Cities.

Letters from Audra: The new woman

Most differences between historical and contemporary clubs have resulted from the changes in the lives of middle-class women during the 1900s.

Mentoring the muse: 20 years of the Sinclair Lewis Writers Conference

Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was a mentor to many aspiring writers during his career. Frederick Manfred was a young writer when Lewis invited him to his home in Duluth to review Manfred’s manuscripts.

Letters from Audra: A few similarities

Although the book titles and club procedures may be vastly different, modern book clubs do share some similarities with their predecessors.

Book clubs are so hot

Novels, memoirs and mysteries about book clubs have surged. Do these titles make you proud — or embarrassed — to be in a book club?

Letters from Audra: Social mission

A final glaring disparity between modern book clubs and historic reading circles is modern clubs’ lack of an integral connection to social reform. Few book clubs express a social mandate in any way resembling those of 19th-century literary groups.

Letters from Audra: Reading material

In addition to making changes in levels of organization and formality, literary clubs have undergone radical changes in reading choices over the last century.

Announcing five prize drawings in October

In September drawings, two lucky book clubs won baskets of wine, cheese, etc. October’s prizes are oriented to the eyes rather than the stomach.

Letters from Audra: Strict procedures

Reading clubs of former times differed from today’s book clubs not only in the formality of their structure, but in the formality of their assembly proceedings.

Letters from Audra: Formal structures

According to Jane Cunningham Croly, author of “The History of the Woman’s Club Movement in America,” the St. Cloud Reading Room Society, founded in 1880 and incorporated in 1882, is the oldest women’s club in Minnesota.

Letters from Audra: Book clubs — then and now

Some intense book clubs of today may rightfully claim to have roots in the 1800s, but most of those spawned in the recent book club boom are an entirely different breed of reading group. Part one of an eight-part series.

A Q&A with spoken-word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Chinese-Taiwanese-American performance artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai shared both her work and her thoughts on the artist’s life with the Loft online recently.