As the evening went on, I sat back and took only an occasional part in the discussion, fascinated to hear what my readers had to say, throwing in a comment now and then to clarify some point or another.
“What’s this guy supposed to represent?” the would-be moderator huffed, referring to a 19th-century New York gangster known — both historically and in “Dreamland” — solely as “the Grabber.”
“Um, I think maybe he’s supposed to stand for Death,” I suggested, cringing inwardly. The others gave me patronizing stares.
“I think the author is much too sophisticated for that,” one of my staunchest defenders gently chided.
"The Book Club is not hip, but on Monday evening, I felt the bibliophilic glamour of a place, which, despite its age and sometime pokiness, is founded on the fundamentally sound principal that if you have three glasses of wine in a plastic cup and listen to something beautiful or see it, it can change the whole complexion of the world." On seeing two of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.
“It is high time defenders of American literary fiction cut Oprah Winfrey a break. These days, even Oprah is no longer Oprah, and while Mathis’s novel has shot up into the bestseller lists, it is unlikely stay there for months the way books did in the Book Club’s 1990s heyday. Still, imagine what would have happened if Winfrey hadn’t picked it. It still would have garnered raves from reviewers in print and online, and over time booksellers would have begun quietly putting it in the hands of favored customers. In other words, it would have remained a well-kept secret among a bookish few.” Our own Michael Bourne defends the queen of American book clubs.