Credit Sarah Mazzetti
Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading
By Anne Gisleson
260 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $27.
Anne Gisleson’s “The Futilitarians” is an entry in the category that Joyce Carol Oates has called the “bibliomemoir,” a first-person narrative that incorporates reading in its structure. The author, a writer and teacher, offers a month-by-month chronicle of a literary discussion group she founded and hosted in her New Orleans home. The attendees are mostly youngish professionals of an artistic or intellectual bent. When she, her husband, Brad, and their friend Chris conceived the project, they had a philosophical approach in mind; the idea was to put an emphasis on ideas. Gisleson wanted to call the group “The Futilitarians,” but the membership settled on “The Existential Crisis Reading Group,” or E.C.R.G..