Habitual Mood

Read This Next (Newman & Mittelmark)

Habitual Mood

The idea of being in a book club is nightmarish to me. I didn't get into reading to make friends! I got into reading so I could sit quietly, communing with the consciousness of a fellow human, a consciousness I can silence in an instant by closing the book. When my partner hosts her book club, I hang around for the initial chit-chat, then load up a plate with book club snacks and leave them to their discussion. Go ahead, call me antisocial - I probably won't hear you as I'll have my headphones on and a book on my lap.

I am not, it must be said, the natural audience for a book aimed at book clubs. But I have enjoyed Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark's sardonic wit and incisive incisiveness in various media. I've also decided that reviewing books about books is going to be a thing that I do on this blog, in the absence of any other ideas, so here I am, doing that.

Probably the highest compliment I can pay Read This Next is that I intended to dip into it here and there, but I ended up reading it cover to cover in a couple of days. I also assumed that I would skip the suggested book club discussion questions, because that kind of thing is almost always painful to endure. Newman and Mittelmark cleverly subvert this paradigm by actually engaging with their chosen texts and providing astute, surprising, and often amusingly snarky questions.

The recommended books are as varied as you could want: whether your (or your book club's) taste runs to Toni Morrison, Ann Rule, or points in between, there's plenty to consider. It's also a very funny book, at least it is to me, and my sense of humour has been highly rated by an international panel of experts. (There are of course people on Goodreads who say it isn't funny, but we all know about people on Goodreads.) There's no reason why celebrating literature need be staid and solemn. "Why so serious?" as popular comic book anti-hero Sven "The Joker" Jokersson famously says.

#books #books about books