Best Reading Series (2009)

Books & Bars

Though smoking has been banned here for years, it's likely that one will remember a night at the Books & Bars Book Club as having been thick with cigars. At one session, participants debate Nabokov, the pronunciation: "It's Nabokov." "Nabokov. I'd always heard Nabokov." "Why would anyone with such a difficult name even write, anyway?" "It's Nabokov. I know. I was a graduate student in English." Thus begins a round of slow, sarcastic applause for the self-professed grad student. Pints of cheap beer are sipped. Then the participants contemplate Lolita, the month's book. And it's apparent that this is how literature was meant to be discussed—in public, at a neighborhood bar, with mildly inebriated strangers. In its fourth year, Books & Bars—the monthly reading group sponsored by The Onion, Magers & Quinn, and the Bryant-Lake Bowl—has become an indispensable means for promoting reading within the community, giving new meaning to the term "literary buzz."


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