Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Goes On At Those Book Club Meetings, Anyway?

Five or six years ago, a group of women—some from the same family—some more loosely connected, got together and decided to start a book club. I was very pleased to be included in this intellectual pursuit, where titles were decided upon, and to be read and discussed with lofty goals and ideals. We had nibbles and wine, and created a reading list for several months out. A reasonably good time was had by all as we got to know each other and listened to different viewpoints and opinions.
After a few meetings, we realized that people did read the assigned titles but getting around to discussing them was becoming less salient. There would be a few earnest attempts and the discussion would get sidetracked by talk of vacations, music, food, wine, and wine and food. Pretty soon music and dancing worked their way into the proceedings.
A shout would go out, "Did anyone read the book?" Often the answer was yes, but that’s as far as the discussion went. On to the food, wine, music and dancing! One time the title I chose was one of Lisa Jackson’s suspenseful heart-stoppers, Unspoken. At the time, Lisa was very busy and under a fast-approaching deadline. Despite all my begging and pleading, and appeals linked to our long-standing friendship, to come to the meeting and make me the belle of the party, she couldn’t. In the end, that was good. No one had read the book except me. It wasn’t because no one was interested. Our priorities were just beginning to shift.
One of the members mentioned that she belonged to a different book club where the book was not only discussed and dissected, the group was staid and calm, not nearly as much fun as ours, the Book Club Babes. (By now we had a name.)
These days, the question will go around, "Did anyone read the book?" and that’s the end of it. We are all voracious readers, and we’ll either read the assigned title before or after the monthly get-together, but we have so much more fun just enjoying each other and ourselves. We’re a diverse group—we have a teacher or two, a former rock star groupie who can dish about nearly any major 80s band, a physician, a writer (me), a legal assistant, and the list goes on. No one actually quits. We may not see a Babe for a few months and suddenly she’s back and welcomed with open arms.
So if you’re not having as much fun at your book club meeting, you might give our model a try. I guarantee you’ll have a good time.

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