Well, I'm not sure about the full answer to that, but I do know it doesn't require hoards of people, cos I had a spiffing time last night with Naomi, Deborah and Joe.
The Life of Pi gained the tick of approval, and made me wish I'd been able to get hold of the book in time to read it (to my shame I was the only one who hadn't!). My punishment was of course an inability to understand what the hell they were talking about, since the allegorical message of the story is somewhat buried, it seems.
I was left instead with 'My Sister Sif', which the others had read too, I might add. A great read for teenage girls I'm sure, but sadly I'm rather past that stage of life. I'll definitely pass it on to my 14 year-old though.
Discussion was not limited to the books of the month either - Naomi made several suggesions for future reading that got our reading-buds tingling:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lax - an non-fiction about a woman who, unknown to her, donated cells to science resulting in the heLa cells (correct me if I'm wrong Naomi) that have formed the basis for the mapping of DNA and other bewilderingly complex scientific stuff. We've all benefited apparently, but her family went without. And then her relative (niece I think?) wrote the book. Footnote: she was a black American.
Delta of Venus - of the erotica genre, written on the 1940's by Anais Nin. I'll admit to having steered us in this direction by mentioning DH Lawrence because I'm reading Sons and Lovers. Neither of these writers are guilty or writing anything close to pornography. Quote 'Nin puts such great detail into the psychology behind sexuality, such as jealousy and pride, it paints a picture of human's sexual nature. Her feminine sensibilities allow her to explore risque sex in a way that feels almost clean enough to discuss over dinner...'. you can download the eBook for free. I have.