BGE in The New York Times

Yesterday in the New York Times‘s, there was a great article on the front page of the Sunday Styles section by Joanne Kauffman.  I won’t give a summary; the article is worth reading.  See my comment (on poopy diapers, of all things).  And Ann Kent’s (BGE’s founder) comment about how it’s estimated that we now have over 5 million books groups across this country.

The article is called “Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?” which is exactly what it’s about:  how book groups can go sour for some people.  I bet there isn’t a book group reader out there who isn’t familiar with the hundreds of ways a person can hate or love their book group.  The Times article focuses on the negative, of course, because those stories are the most interesting.  Kathi Goldmark and I figured this out in 2006 when we staged a skit called The Book Group From Hell at the first Book Group Expo.   Every member of The Book Group From Hell (all of us are writers) has a serious personality disorder — characters (caricatures, actually), if you will, who each have the worst traits of our most unpleasant book group members.  In the skit, we discussed The Joy Luck Club, a book that is widely-known.  Of course the skit was supposed to be funny, a little break between literary salons.  What many in the audience didn’t expect and were surprised to discover was that Amy Tan (in diguise) was the Book Group’s most vociferous dissenter on the subject of her own book.  Here’s a photo right after Amy removed her hat with a flourish and turned toward the audience (that’s Kathi playing the harried executive in the background):



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