Monday, December 08, 2008

Lincoln's doctor's dog (with a nod to Bennett Cerf)

Book groups can make the careers of some authors, and for a few years now it has been painfully obvious that many authors are writing specifically to pander to book clubs. When the book is a gem like The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society, then fine... even though the title reads like a fawning bid for the book group business (the late author herself was encouraged by her book club to write it), it also happens to be an excellent little charmer, so no harm no foul (although I still chafe at the title, and I would object even more if I were in a book club).

But what about all those other books with book club code words in the title, such as "Knitting Society," or "Friday Night," or some other semaphore that screams "We're pandering to yooooooooou, book clubbers!" Many of them even include book club discussion questions at the end. Often you'll see the name of a famous author such as Jane Austen invoked to give the book gravitas, but it usually ends up being sacrilegious, akin to using God's name to sell used cars. Some howlers are on the way in future titles, and although I do not use this blog to put down any book by name, you can find some of the forthcoming ones if you go to Amazon and type in a few of the code words above. It's enough to make you run screaming from the bookstore. ;-)

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