Ms. Lester Regrets (Nothing)! For It’s A Book Club World, After All!

photo 2(1)
Photo by Slim Aarons, the Kaufmann House, Palm Springs. Caption by an anonymous wit, frequent raconteur, and literary sister…

There’s a lot of talk these days about the seismic changes in the publishing business. What’s discussed less are the changes to the social aspect of reading and the increasingly social ways people interact over books. And this social component is even driving the way books are marketed, both by publishers and by authors themselves.

via The Millions : Book Clubs Mean Business.

I was walking down the street to my neighbor’s pool the other day when I ran into a gal who lived four doors down, and seeing her, I rushed back home, grabbed my novel, signed it, and scooted back out of the house so I could to present it to her. (A little aside, I love where I live, it’s a great street, anyway…) My neighbor hugged me, congratulated me, and then said it was her turn to select the novel for her book club, and would I consider attending the meeting… Would I? OH YEAH.

Which got me thinking about book clubs in general… So, here’s the dealio, it’s pretty fluid, and I ask for your ideas on the matter, but the general plan is this:

Select my novel for your book club and I might just send you a present (a particularly cool edition of a book, a pair of Jonathan Adler coffee mugs, a box of beautifully crafted soaps—things like that) and I will figure out a way to attend if I can, either in person, or via my Google+ profile. (On Google+ there is Video Hangout option so we can visit anywhere in the world!) Notify me in the comments about your book club and we can sort out the details via email.

How does that sound? What do you think?

Let’s get this started:


Look at that! Somebody else wrote a novel about Hollywood 😉 , and I thought that would make a perfect first giveaway for Beguiling: The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West. I have acquired a mint condition Bantam Books paperback printed in 1953, with an extremely lurid cover (see above). Fabulous! Want it? Well then, you know the dealio.


Title: The Day of the Locust (1939)
Author: Nathanael West


Around quitting time, Tod Hackett heard a great din on the road outside
his office. The groan of leather mingled with the jangle of iron and over
all beat the tattoo of a thousand hooves. He hurried to the window.

An army of cavalry and foot was passing. It moved like a mob; its lines
broken, as though fleeing from some terrible defeat. The dolmans of the
hussars, the heavy shakos of the guards, Hanoverian light horse, with
their fiat leather caps and flowing red plumes, were all jumbled together
in bobbing disorder. Behind the cavalry came the infantry, a wild sea of
waving sabretaches, sloped muskets, crossed shoulder belts and swinging
cartridge boxes... Tod recognized the scarlet infantry of England with
their white shoulder pads, the black infantry of the Duke of Brunswick,
the French grenadiers with their enormous white gaiters, the Scotch with
bare knees under plaid skirts.

While he watched, a little fat man, wearing a cork sun-helmet, polo shirt
and knickers, darted around the corner of the building in pursuit of the

"Stage Nine--you bastards--Stage Nine!" he screamed through a small

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  1. June 9, 2014

    Alas, with the exception of critique groups, I have never been in a book club. The closest I came was during my freshman year in college, when I checked out a campus organization called, “The Friends of Literature.” Turned out that the local Blatz brewery gave free tours and beer tasting on Saturdays to any chartered organization, so four guys chartered themselves as “The Friends.” Alas again – I was under 21 so could not join.

    I did have an adventure with Nathaniel West as a junior in HS. I wanted to do my semester project on Henry Miller, but the teacher suggested that might be a bit risqué for the powers that be and offered me his copy of “The Complete Works of Nathanael West” (four novels) as a noir alternative.

    The fun fact you didn’t mention is that the character of the naive rube in “Locust” is (drum roll) – Homer Simpson.

    Great idea on the club.

    • June 10, 2014

      There’s really a Blatz brewery? That sounds like a Matt Groening creation!

  2. June 9, 2014

    My book club will definitely read it! I prefer your presence in person, but Google Hangout will suffice.

    Maybe I should join multiple book clubs so they all can read it?!


    • June 10, 2014

      A diabolical plan, Ms. Angie! I like it. xox, Your Auntie V.

  3. June 10, 2014

    Hmmmm….do I recognise that hand-written caption? I wonder!

    • June 10, 2014

      I think you might! xox, V

      • June 10, 2014

        Give that writer my love. Hope she is full of sunshine and enjoying life.

    June 10, 2014

    that’s a glorious idea! 🙂 why don’t I have a book club?

    • June 11, 2014

      Nath! Why don’t you??? If you start one, let me know 😉 . xox, V

        June 13, 2014

        I don’t know! Maybe because nobody ever keeps my reading pace? 😀

  5. June 10, 2014

    There was indeed a Blatz brewery as well as a Blitz brewery, in the Pacific northwest. I cannot say with certainty which it was. Of course we now know that of all the Springfields in this country, Matt modeled Homer’s town on the Oregon Springfield, soo….

    • June 11, 2014

      I didn’t know! But it’s all beginning to make sense now…

  6. June 11, 2014

    Wait a minute! I belong to a book club. I’m going to send this link to them. We do have our books sorted out for the next several months, but let’s see what they say.

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