Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quote of the Week: The Group

"Publishing's a man's business.  Book publishing, that is.  Name me a woman, outside of Blanche Knopf, who married Alfred, who's come to the top in book publishing.  You find them on the fringes, in publicity and advertising.  Or you find them copy editing or reading proof.  Old maids, mostly, with a pencil behind their ear and dyspepsia"
(page 254 - 255)

The Group
by Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy's 1963 novel provides a fascinating look at the post-college lives of eight Vassar  graduates, class of '33.  I cannot put this book down.


  1. "old maids with a pencil behind their ear" had me LOL I guess that is like "librarians with their hair in a bun and wearing jumpers stereotype?

    This one really does sound good though JoAnn --thanks.

  2. That's so funny - I have always associated women in publishing with glamour!!

  3. SO good to hear it! I picked it up a year ago through paperback swap and haven't read it yet but it's been recommended to me tons of times. I like that time period and I like to read about the roles of women.

  4. Ah, I remember this quote very well! One of the many excellent bits of writing :)

  5. I recently saw this one of those must read lists and it caught my eye. Your teaser made it more irresistible!

  6. I'm so glad you're enjoying it, JoAnn!

  7. Diane - That line was too good not to share ;-)

    Rachel - I've always thought of publishing as glamorous, too. That must be why this line jumped out at me.

    Michelle - You're in for a treat with this one!

    Kals - Yes, that line will stick with me for a while, too.

    Linda - Ha! I saw that list, too, and felt pretty smug because I was reading one of the books.

    Nymeth - I really am enjoying this one!

  8. Publicity and advertising are the publishing fringes? I thought the reason most books get published is because of their marketability! I guess a lot has changed since the '30s.

  9. Great quote and now I'm certainly looking forward to reading your final thoughts on this!

  10. I've wanted this book for quite some time. Trying to be patient for PBS to email.

  11. E.L. Fay - Amazing, isn't it? This book paints quite a picture of the 30's.

    Coffee and a Book Chick - I had a good laugh with that, too!

    Staci - I'm going to have a hard time not gushing over this one!

    Christina - Hope PBS comes through for you soon. This is a great book!

  12. One of my "regulars" gushed about this book a year or so ago. I keep meaning to snag a copy. Maybe I'll remember to do so tomorrow.

  13. Les - I'm halfway through the 500 pages and am fascinated by this look at women's lives in the 30's. Makes you realize how far we've come...

  14. It has been years and years since I read this book. Your quote was a fun reminder. I love reading about how far we as women have come. Sometimes it's easy to forget that we have made any progress at all. I look forward to your review of this book. You may inspire me to reread.

  15. Margot - I'd never heard of this one until Claire (Paperback Reader) reviewed it last year, then Nymeth, and a couple of others. It's amazing to see how much has changed since the 30's.... an amazing book!


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