I’ve been in a few book clubs, book clubs that meet in person and somebody picks a book and we all read it and then meet in person again and there’s food and we all talk about the book we all read in the allotted period of time.
The first one, I dropped out of because I didn’t want to read the Oprah books all the time, which is to say I can only endure so much misery in literary format. Also, I didn’t like being bossed around by bossy Suzy.
Then I was in one that I really liked a lot. Rather, my friend Amanda and I liked it a lot, but I think everybody else thought we were a distraction because we spent the meetings drinking wine and eating and giggling and getting off topic.
The third one was going swimmingly until one of the members “got pregnancy blindness,” which I would actually more characterize as “bitchiness” and then I “fired” her. I maintain that I did not “fire” her, I merely said, “If you can’t see to read, maybe you shouldn’t be foisting crappy books on the rest of us.”
So the fourth one sprang out of the third one, and we had our book club meetings at fancy places like the Ritz, over tea, which was great fun. Now we’re all still friends, but we’re not a book club. Or they’re a book club, but I’m laid off or something.
My friend Jonna and I have a book club and we pick a book of some enormous length, and then we go to each other’s houses and eat and tell stories for several hours and laugh so hard we snort, and then at the very end, one of us says, “Oh, damn! What about the book?!” And the other says, “I read it. It was about 600 pages.”
But my secret book club is another story.
There are only two of us, and sometimes we go weeks without speaking to each other directly, though we cross paths several times a week on the internet. Other times, we email each other constantly, because we are great mullers – we mull things over together, we consider options, we discuss the world around us.
A good bit of the time though, we send and receive messages with a simple subject line: read or book, and a message containing only the title and author of the book.
I don’t really want to discuss the books I’ve read, it turns out, beyond passing along and receiving the information that it was gripping, I couldn’t put it down, or it takes the first 200 pages to get into and it drags at the end, both of which I would like to know in advance.
That’s the beauty of my secret book club. We share a brain when it comes to books. We also share a brain in other ways, but that requires more than a cryptic email that reads simply, “Mission Flats.”
We don’t discuss the books, we just read and recommend: No guilt involved, no strings attached, no questions asked.