We recently caught up with Roz Sandack who just celebrated her 25th year moderating her book club, Roz Reads! We’ve been happily associated with her for so many of those years and always look forward to seeing her and her book club members at The King’s English at the end of each month. This past September they read My Ántonia (again) because it was Roz’s inaugural book for her club.
TKE: Why My Ántonia?
Roz Sandack: My Ántonia was the first book I discussed with my book groups in September of 1987. It’s an important literary classic, one that many of us had to read in school as young people. It bears rereading again and is a marvelous discussion book.
TKE: What have been some of your favorite books over the years and why have they worked well in discussions?
Roz: Books for discussion need to have psychological depth and interesting ideas to explore. Occasionally, one of my readers will request that I include a “happy” book on my reading list. What’s to discuss in a happy book?
Some favorite discussion books:
- Classics. My book groups read at least one classic a year.
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
- The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
- Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
TKE: Have there been any colossal flops?
Roz: Definitely evenings with lackluster discuss-ers and discussions that have tanked. I’m not sure what or who’s to blame. It just happens occasionally, and it doesn’t feel very good.
TKE: What is your secret ingredient for a successful meeting?
Roz: Here’s the formula: good book + preparation and enthusiasm (mine and the readers)= successful discussion. If every reader brings a question or comment to the group, everyone is much more involved in the discussion. Oh, and here’s another secret ingredient: listening. It’s important to listen to each other’s comments. Listening to others nurtures new ideas and that’s how we grow.
TKE: Do you have a funny story that you’d like to tell?
Roz: There are many hilarious moments, but probably the most surprisingly funny story is the time a group of close girlfriends hired me to discuss a book with them. I picked The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. They decided to watch the movie together instead of read the book, only the movie wasn’t based on the classic. It was a vampire thriller. Needless to say, the “reading” group unraveled pretty quickly.
Congrats Roz, and here’s to 25 more years of great books and great discussions!
Roz Reads October 2012 selection: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.