So, this is how it all started…I was happily enjoying a conversation over breakfast with my BWB partner when we were approached by neighbor who told us that she was forming a book club and asked if we would be interested in joining. It was going to be quite exclusive (as I later learned that our subdivision already had an official book club which we were not invited to join, so ours was going to be sort of underground, which appealed to my dangerous side). Naturally, we were reluctant to commit on the spot, but Linda promised that this book club would be unlike any other we’d heard about. “Would we be required to host meetings in our homes?”, we asked. “Well, yes, but…” “OOOOHHHH, that may not work for us because, well, we don’t want to do that,” we quickly interrupted. “Here’s the thing, though,” she said, trying to win us over (well, in all honesty, I think it was my BWB buddy who was really in demand. I just happened to be there, and so was included by default).”You see, these will be our rules:”
1) Do not clean your house for us. If your house has been freshly scrubbed, painted or re-carpeted, you will be exiled from the club.
2) If you’re dressed in anything better than comfy sweats, you’re overdressed and will be duly scorned.
3) Snacks will absolutely not consist of ridiculously extravagant catered items. Simple chips and dip are perfect.
4) There will be alcohol (which probably should have been Rule #1, but we all understood it as the first rule of book club, so it really didn’t even need to be listed as a rule)
And, finally, 5) You don’t have to read the book”
How could we say no? Still, we hesitated and responded that it sounded like something fun. And, that’s how I ended up in a book club. People are often impressed and automatically confer intellectual prowess upon me. The truth is, I’ve become one of the known remedial readers in the group, but fortunately, we are a forgiving troupe. Otherwise, I would have been tossed out years ago. From what I understand, most serious book clubs do not extend such leniency to their fellow readers. Plus, I’m thinking, it’s gotta’ make the rest of the girls feel pretty superior when the dregs of the book club admit to, not only not finishing the book, but often not even starting or even owning the book. So, we do serve a useful purpose.
How, you may ask, does a group like ours choose its books? We usually read summaries of a few suggested titles, deciding if it’s a genre we’re interested in or perhaps have read too much of lately, and, of course, the all-important page count. Too many pesky pages and it’s “Adios, nice try, though.” We’ve actually discussed books where the main complaint was, “There were SO many words…” Some books were real duds, but we’ve also read some great books. And, quite honestly, a few of my all-time faves were books I would have never chosen to read if not for book club. So, that’s something which has stretched me intellectually.
Speaking of intellectualism, we once thought it would be interesting to read some “Classics” and chose, for our first, Wuthering Heights. I’d never read it before, though remembered reading Jane Eyre in high school and kind of liked it and since the authors were sisters, I concluded that it would probably be a similar kind of book. Plus, I had seen the movie before and thought I liked it… WARNING: if you’ve never read Wuthering Heights before…DON’T. I repeat DO NOT. It was AWFUL. I wish I could do more than use bold capital lettered font to get my point across. First of all, if you’re reading for enjoyment, you’re probably going to want to steer clear of any book in which more than half of the pages are footnotes. The Introduction starts out by saying it can be a confusing book since many of the characters have the same name. WHAT????? I hated it already. And the truth is, I probably hated Jane Eyre when I read that, too. I don’t remember, unlike when I had to read Moby Dick. I do remember hating that one right from the start. “My name is Ishmael.” Ugh, this is gonna be torture…”
I think I might post a list of my favorite books in my next blog, though. There were some really good ones thrown in with some of the dogs. One joke that had us laughing for a long time came from the first book we ever read, The Stone Diaries. Again, be warned…we hated it. It was unanimously detested. It dragged and dragged and dragged. But, at one point, a rather loathsome man met his demise when he sneezed and “accidentally” fell out a window. Let’s just say, his wife got over the loss pretty fast. We all thought that was a good one to store away for future reference on how to end a meddlesome marriage, which seems to be the topic of many of our book club meetings…