01
Oct
08

What is the bge literary salon?

The Literary Salon concept appeared first in 15th century Venice when an elite group of women began gathering informally to talk about literature, politics, science, and art.  The French picked it up about a century later and, as the French do so well, made it extremely fashionable.  These gatherings were so informal that they were frequently held in the bedroom, where the hostess would lead the discussion — once her friends clustered around on chairs and stools — from a reclining position in her bed.  I am passionately devoted to reviving this custom, and I await the day when Ann Kent, book group expo’s founder, gives us the go-ahead.

Until then, we’re committed to creating an ambience of intimacy in bge’s literary salons.  Each one — this year there are 20 — is meant to reflect the more relaxed book group experience, where conversation is predominant.  Book group readers love to talk as well as they love to listen.  To that end, our moderators open up to questions and comments from the audience only about fifteen minutes into the hour-long salon rather than follow the common “lecture” or “interview” format where the audience is given a rushed few minutes at the end.  This precipitates a discussion or “group conversation” that reflects a particular audience’s interests and it helps the authors feel less like they are performing.

In this photo from last year, authors Elizabeth Gilbert, Po Bronson, and Sara Davidson are probably being amused by one of moderator Sam Barry’s bon mots, which is to say that he’s doing what he does best:  cracking them up.  All three of these authors had written books involving inspirational journeys.  Kathi Goldmark, our Author Liaison and Maven of Clever Salon Titles, called this one “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been”.

All of our salons are topic-centered, so the conversation is not only about the books of each author, but about a topic that each of their books addresses in some way.  Some of this years’ topics are marriage, grief, strong women, and the definition of virtue.  The Expo is a two-day event with an opening salon each day at 10:00 am (doors open at 9:00 am) and 9 more salons running until 4:00 pm (doors close at 5:30).  There are three salon locations, which means that 3 salons occur at the same time for the rest of each day.  Click here to see the full schedule so you can get a head start on choosing which ones you’d like to attend.

In this photo from last year, Khaled Hosseini and I are smiling at an amusing comment from the audience.  Don’t ask me to remember exactly what.  As usual, I’m hiding my toothy smile.  No, Khaled and I did not coordinate colors before this Friday evening salon, but we each noticed that our blues matched perfectly.  Naturally, we complimented one another on our fashion taste.  I’m just glad y’all can see his face; he has a simpatico face.  Not like many doctors I’ve known.  Must be the storyteller in him.

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2 Responses to “What is the bge literary salon?”


  1. October 29, 2008 at 1:26 am

    A settee is a nice intermediate position between a bed and a chair….just a thought.

  2. August 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    see here for greatest info recommended you read anywhere


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