Part of the mission of the Ann Arbor Book Society is to help connect local readers, and what better way to do this than to highlight some of the great book groups in Ann Arbor? Over the coming months we plan to feature various book groups in our newsletter and on our website. This month we interviewed Matthew Flores, event coordinator for Literati Bookstore and facilitator for the Literati Book Club.
Linda Kimmel: Thank you so much for agreeing to participate in the efforts of the Ann Arbor Book Society to help promote local book groups. First, when did your book group start?
Matthew Flores: Our Literati Book Club started soon after the bookstore first opened, about 5 years ago.
Linda: What type of genre or genres does your group read?
Matthew: We typically read new & noteworthy fiction and non-fiction.
Linda: How are books selected for your group?
Matthew: As the facilitator of the book club I get to pick the books each month! Choosing the books is a big responsibility so I’ll often chat with fellow booksellers and book club members about what they think would make for a good discussion.
Linda: How many people attend a typical meeting?
Matthew: We typically have about a dozen members attend the meetings.
Linda: How would you describe a typical meeting as far as style of moderation, formation of discussion, etc.?
Matthew: We strive to keep the discussion informal and fun! My job as facilitator is to really make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and has the opportunity to speak.
Linda: What are the last three books your group has read?
Matthew: Well, we don’t meet in December because the bookstore stays busy during the holidays, but in November we read Little by Edward Carey (my favorite novel of 2018!) and in October we read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and in September we were joined by our Poetry Book Club to discuss Bluets by Maggie Nelson.
Linda: Usually, some books generate a lively discussion, while sometimes another book will generate almost no discussion. What are some books that have generated the most and least discussion in your group and what is it about those books that either encouraged or discouraged discussion?
Matthew: Amazingly, lack of discussion has never been a big issue for us! It may take a couple of minutes for us to get comfortable and dig in, but our regular members always have insightful thoughts to share. I will say that our discussion of My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh was interesting! Half of the group loved the novel and the other half definitely did not. The novel may have been divisive, but one of the benefits of a good book club is being able to hear and understand differing opinions on books. These conversations have the potential to widen our appreciation of literature and focus our own critical reading skills. My favorite meeting of the year would probably be our discussion of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. We had a great turn out and I feel like I walked away with a deeper understanding of the story.
Linda: How often, where, and when does your book group meet?
Matthew: Literati Book Club meets once a month, typically in the last week of the month, at 7pm in the cafe space of Literati Coffee.
Linda: Is there someplace online where people can learn more about your book group?
Matthew: Yes! You can learn more from our website at literatibookstore.com
Linda: Is there anything else you would like to let our readers know about your book group?
Matthew: Literati Bookstore hosts other great book clubs too! The Feminist Book Club and Poetry Book Club both meet every month in the cafe. The Eco Book Club meets every other month. And the Arts, Ideas & Politics Book Club meets at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. And Literati offers a 15% discount for all book club selections each month.
Featured February 2019 newsletter