Joie de Livre: Shared Reading

It’s been a big week. I was honored to moderate a panel celebrating the joys of shared reading called Joie de Livre (great pun) for the Women’s National Book Association and Litquake. I love the speed-chess thinking that has to happen when three knock-out novelists with three knock-out books get together to consider their works in relationship to each other.*

Amanda meets with Reading Between the Vines

Then last night I met — for the very first time in this author’s life — with a book club that had read my novel, Going to Solace. Wow. So amazing to sit among folks who know the book as well as I do, who favor this character or that, who chafe when characters fail no matter how good their reasons might be, who worry about how a particular character might fare beyond the book’s end. Reading Between the Vines: that’s what the club is called, a nod to our mutual home in wine country. The members have overfull lives, lists of to-dos, but they put that all aside once a month — they’ve been doing so for 13 years now — to talk about a book, a book they’ve had to carve out the time to read. They change it up. One month it’s classical, the next kitsch. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes non-.  A review copy of Going to Solace went to the leader, she loved it and — Bam — there we were last night eating dinner in stages all over the house, sipping and blabbing, chewing and blabbing — sharing reading. We talked around the book — the who and how of its long unfolding through writing into publication. We also wandered inside the book, trading questions and insights.

The whole thing has such an interesting rhythm. Stealth explorers, we readers schedule short bursts of lonely literary teleportation between breakfast and bedtime — and then meet up afterwards to compare notes. Did we come up with the same map? Did we note the same landmarks? Did we meet the same people? It’s particularly fun when our maps don’t quite line up, when our snapshots don’t look anything like the ones that other readers took. Sharing like- and not-so-like-minded experiences of the “same” book is a gas. When that book is a book you happened to write — now that’s joie de livre

* The panel featured Anita Amirrezvani, author of Equal of the Sun; Amanda Coplin, author of The Orchardist; and C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow.

About Amanda McTigue

Author. Director. Teacher. My debut novel, GOING TO SOLACE was named one of four "Best Reads of 2012" by public radio's KRCB "Word by Word." A collection of short stories, "Convergence," is due out in 2015. A second novel, "Monkey Bottom," will follow.
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One Response to Joie de Livre: Shared Reading

  1. badwalker says:

    What a treat, with ready-made fans. Congratulations.

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