This past Wednesday I was one of 150 people who gathered at First Draft to discuss Tim Johnston’s Descent. Faithful readers (or those who just clicked the link) may recall I am not entirely fond of the book. And while it still isn’t my favorite book of the year, I gained new respect for the read. Listening to everyone discuss the characters, themes, and motivations – discussion that sometimes shifted to debate – made my literary heart grow three sizes. I appreciated some of the author’s decisions and started to see the novel in a new light – especially with regard to characters’ relationships and their growth (or lack thereof).
Our moderator, Barbara VanDenburgh, did a phenomenal job keeping the conversation flowing and encouraging people to share their opinions. I even spoke up about a harrowing snowshoe scene! And Changing Hands/First Draft, while inundated with customers, did wonders in handling the crowd.
I’ve been in Phoenix for six years and sometimes I feel like I’m missing a big chunk of the literary world. I’m looking forward to that feeling shrinking each month after an energizing citywide book club. If you’re in the Phoenix area, consider coming to the next one, where we’ll discuss Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.
Thanks for reading! Has a book club or book discussion changed your opinion on something you’ve read?