“A selection of the Wisteria Lane Book Club, at least desperate housewife found it ‘inspirational.’” Diana Loevy’s tip on what you could say to a book club members who balk at the idea of reading Madame Bovary
Looking for a way to revitalize your book club? How about reading Isabel Allende’s Zorro and having members dress up in capes or serapes? Yes, it could lead to swordfights over the guacamole. But such ideas abound in Diana Loevy’s loopy The Book Club Companion (Berkley), which brims with recipes, etiquette rules, pet-care tips, decorating ideas, and fashion advice, all wrapped around reading lists full of descriptions of books that might have been written by their authors’ mothers. In her several sections on four-footed intruders, she stops just short of suggesting that you shoot Fido with tranquilizing darts before your book group shows up at your place. And if you think product placement in the movies is out of control, wait until you see all her plugs for titles from the Penguin Group in this book from an imprint of – that’s right — the Penguin Group. If Loevy knows the meaning of “conflict of interest,” you see no evidence of it in this book.
Loevy has a tip for groups that balk at reading Flaubert. “Selling Madame Bovary to the club: A selection of the Wisteria Lane Book Club, at least desperate housewife found it ‘inspirational.’” Now there’s an unbeatable endorsement for you. (You aren’t going to complain just because it’s ungrammatical, are you?) Elsewhere Loevy’s advice is often as patrontizing as it is off the wall. She sounds almost apologetic about suggesting that book clubs may want to read Moby-Dick. “Don’t you be rolling your eyes,” she warns, because the novel is “brimming with meaning.”
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
[The 10 Delete Key Awards finalists are being announced in random order throughout the day and numbered only for convenience.]