My Alleged Book Club

Aug 02

BookClubTeaOur book club has a few problems.

Agreeing on what to read next is like Democrats and Republicans reaching a (Gasp!) compromise. Some of us (me) want classics, Diana the latest bestsellers (although she did suggest The Great Gatsy last time), and Betsy doesn’t want to do hardcovers.

Setting a date to meet is harder than getting a bachelor on one of those ridiculous reality shows to commit to a bride, let alone a wedding.

If you’re 5 minutes late you’re early, 10 minutes late you’re on time. The only one at the last meeting who showed up at the designated hour was Susan, who is new to the group. She’ll adjust.

Frequent comments include: “I read it so long ago (meaning: you people postponed this frigging meeting so many times) that I forgot the book.”

“I didn’t finish it so don’t tell me the ending.”

“I liked the last one better.”

“What WAS the last one?”

Even though we are all from the publishing world and know a thing or three about literature — or maybe because of this — we often talk about everything but the book: the new Justin Timberlake movie and other guilty pleasures, Anthony Weiner and his guilty pleasures, the children, spouses and/or louses in our lives, the heartbreak of sciatica, the shoe sale at Saks.

Last time, someone asked us to pick our favorite book so far. We all went blank. Except for one person, and she chose The Sparrow, which I loathed and despised. Go figure.

The club was originally named (by me), The Geez Louise International Book (Club) or GLIB for short, which made us all Glibbies. I liked that. But while Louise is still a member, Silvia, our Italian friend, only made it to one or two meetings before going back to Florence. So much for International. I now refer to us as The Alleged Book Club.

When I’m at our meetings, I often feel that I am in a Woody Allen movie.


Well, apparently it is.

Because let’s face it, book clubs aren’t just about books. It’s the conversation, the camaraderie, the lunch.

Oh, and did I mention that we often meet at hamburger joints when at least half of the group are on diets and order salads? Last time, we picked a place where you can get just about anything. Who says that real women don’t eat quiche.

But a moral dilemma did arise that day that I must share with you: Sharon showed up wearing a gorgeous skirt and belt that she had promised to give me because they were too small for her. But. She had recently been on an extreme diet and now they fit very nicely. What should I do: just sit there and suck it up, or encourage her to have a burger, fries, and a huge dessert, in the hopes of getting the outfit at the next meeting?

I took the high road. But these decisions are never easy.

At one point, our resident genius, the one who deduced that the tiger in The Life of Pi represented God (I still find this revelation breathtaking), announced that she was lucky to have made it to lunch and didn’t even know which book we were discussing (she’s coming off a personal crisis, as are almost all of us at any given time), but then, when reminded of the title, proceeded to dissect the plot.

We found this book, The Great House by Nicole Krauss, hard to follow. There’s this desk, see, stolen from a Jewish family during the Holocaust. The desk represents Loss (We all got that, mainly because it said so on the cover flap), and it passes from hand to hand in what is decidedly not a straight trajectory. In fact, we’re still not sure how Lotte got the thing, although we like the theory (I think it was Betsy’s) that it was given to her by a Nazi, whom she may or may not had a child by.

Book Clubs Rock

As you may have guessed, I’m quite fond of our little book club. I read books differently when I know we’re going to be discussing them, and remember them better — once you remind me of the title. And explain how Lotte got the desk. Even though it’s a messy process, not unlike making sausages or getting the debt ceiling passed, we always do come up with a book, most of us read it, and in between the talk of this and that, we actually do have good discussions. About the book.


Besides, I know I’m happy whenever I say, “I feel like I’m in a Woody Allen movie.” Because if there’s a better place to be I don’t know where that is.

By the way, have you seen Midnight in Paris? Woody is Back with a capital B, and I am so tempted to book (no pun intended) tickets to Paris that I might miss the next club, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile, when is the next meeting — and what the hell are we reading?




For more about book clubs: It’s A Mystery To Me

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