They always signal to me that the book wants to be taken seriously as Important Literature. However, if a book has to try that hard to inspire Deep Thoughts [TM], it will never be anything more than a second-tier novel.
I also find reading group guides rather insulting. Do the publishers really think that little of the readers? Do they think that we can’t come up with our own topics of discussion? We’re not stupid!
I should really check the back of books for reading group guides before I decide to read them. I could save myself a lot of grief that way.
While I’m at it, will someone please tell Jodi Picoult that she should stop dressing up her books as Srs Bzns? She writes entertainingly good stories, not Classics For The Ages. And that’s perfectly fine…if she’s honest about what she’s doing.