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!”
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.
The celebration of National Reading Group Month starts next Thursday. But not in the Twin Cities.
Most differences between historical and contemporary clubs have resulted from the changes in the lives of middle-class women during the 1900s.
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.
Although the book titles and club procedures may be vastly different, modern book clubs do share some similarities with their predecessors.
MinnPost journalist Sarah T. Williams will be a guest on “Ian and Margery” on FM 107.1 at 8:05 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 23.
Novels, memoirs and mysteries about book clubs have surged. Do these titles make you proud — or embarrassed — to be in a book club?
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.
MinnPost’s new Book Club Club got a mention in Publishers Weekly this morning.
In addition to making changes in levels of organization and formality, literary clubs have undergone radical changes in reading choices over the last century.
Documentation is another area in which historic reading circles are distinctly different from modern book clubs.
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.
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.
A book club called No Ordinary Women is the lucky winner of the second basket of wine, cheese, crackers, bread and fruit.
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.
Minnesota writer Cheri Register has spoken to nearly 100 book clubs since 2002.
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.
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.
From Anne Hutchinson and Benjamin Franklin to Oprah Winfrey, Americans have been gathering for almost 400 years to discuss sermons, books and topics of the day.