First, let me say all you people out there who rave about your book clubs and how great they are and how ya’ll just love each other- I kind of dislike you. No, actually, I’m envious. Pea green with envy. Because the book club I belong to, well… it does not inspire me to write a love poem about how great it is. It’s not terrible. But it could be a TON better. Hence, my book club blues.
Back in 2012, I met this lady at a book signing (actually met her at a Joshilyn Jackson signing!) We quickly discovered we live only 1 town apart (which in small-town Mississippi means we are basically neighbors!) and we exchanged emails and a friendship began to form. A few weeks later, she invited me to her house for book club to discuss the Joshilyn Jackson book they were reading. So, pretty excited- I’d never belonged to a book club before. I went and had a pretty good time. We talked some about the book, some about other things, some wine was consumed and then the night was over.
Each month was a different book (and different people came and went as the agreement was the club would meet on certain day and if you could come, great; if not, catch you next month).
Why I’ve Got The Book Club Blues:
For the first several months, each person picked a book and hosted book club. This worked out fine, mostly. Sure some books were not necessarily the ones I wanted to read- but I just rolled with the punches you know… Until…Around 3 or s months go by, and I notice a few things- there is 1 woman who only wants to read non-fiction. Hey, I get it- we all like out genres. But she dismisses EVERYTHING written by a woman as “chick lit” and repeats ad nauseam “I can’t abide chick lit”. So my enjoyment of the club began to slip.
Discussion of the Book:
You know the joke about my book club reads wine labels? Why, that’s not exactly true about my IRL book club- the truth is that it’s more like a social club. Yes, there is some discussion- but not that much. Again it’s ok. I mainly go for the fact that it’s something to do in a small town and because there are a couple of members I really like. I don’t even expect us to have a deep in-depth discussion of the book. BUT I DO LIKE THERE TO BE SOME DISCUSSION. And not to be forbidden to talk about certain parts of book because someone has not finished it. There are some months you don’t finish the book. Again, not a problem. But I suffered through that 800 page monstrosity 11/22/63 and I darn well want to discuss the ending. Only to find out that we aren’t discussing the ending because some people haven’t finished. Ai yay yi!
Author Events at Book Club (Skype/Call in)
And then… this: It was my month to pick a book- I thought long and hard, wanted to pick something that would have appeal, not be “chick lit”, and would provide discussion. I picked LITTLE GALE GUMBO by Erika Marks. I tweeted about it- and Erika kindly let me know that she would love to call or Sykpe in (you know things that most book clubs actually enjoy). Of course, the book club I belong to is not like most- the did not want to chat. After that experience, even though I “know” quite a few of the authors of the books that are being chose to read, I don’t dare suggest having an author call in. Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice, shame on me.
The Future of The Book Club
We took a break for several months because one of the women was pregnant. In November we started back, and we’re struggling to come up with book selections that can be agreed upon. NIGHT FILM was picked (and it was split 50/50 on who liked/did not), THE GOLDFINCH (no one liked).
Again, with 500 million books published a year (maybe a teensy exaggeration) you’d think we could come up with some books. But, the “non-chick lit” reader makes things hard. Then we have some that don’t want to take a stand or rock a boat. Here’s the thing- pick a book. If it’s not good, it’s not good. It it’s great, it’s great.
I suggested for the next book titles such as A HUNDRED SUMMERS, CALL ME ZELDA, or THE WIFE, THE MAID and THE MISTRESS. (FYI: Just in case you did not know- THOSE books are CHICK LIT). So is Sarah Addison Allen- just in case you are curious.
For the next 2 months, I’m unable to attend due to other commitments. And I’m unsure how I feel. I get frustrated because it seems no one wants to be in charge, yet no one really goes with the flow. And yet, if I quit- I would miss some of the people in the club.
What do you do when your book club starts giving you the blues?