I should have been a librarian. I love books, spend a lot of time prowling through libraries and used book stores, and getting paid to shush people is my idea of heaven. But despite my love of literature, I’ve never been part of a book club.  Unless you count Oprah’s, and I just don’t.  I’m not the only one, though for different reasons.

Some good things did come out of the Oprah thing. I was introduced to such fantastic books as The Rapture of Canaan, She’s Come Undone, and The Poisonwood Bible, which remains the best work of fiction I have ever read. But I don’t enjoy discussions. Good books become too personal. I don’t want to pick apart a book I love any more than I want to scrutinize the face of my beloved husband and describe the individual parts, their flaws, and their relationship to one another.

I realize that I may have lost some of my readership by my use of the Oxford comma in that last sentence. Who knew a bit of punctuation could be so divisive? I am what I am, and what I am is old. I was taught the Oxford comma, and you cannot teach an old dog new punctuation.I digress.

Discussions aside, I also skip out of book clubs because I am somewhat juvenile. I don’t like people telling me what to do read. I’ll take suggestions, but anything that smacks of required reading will sit on the bookshelf untouched. Forever. Just ask the dude who gave me my driver’s license exam. But in all fairness, if they really expected me to stop for that train, they should have put up some flashing lights. Wait, um…

Anyhoo, if I am to be happy, I must be Boss of My Book Club. If you’d like to join, you must agree to abide by the following laws three rules.

1) I get to pick the books. I refuse to read blurbs when choosing a book. There is nothing worse than knowing ahead of time that Jenny’s grandmother is going to die, which will be the catalyst for her turn to the dark side. And then spending 200 pages waiting for it. I like surprises, even if they are tragic ones. Rather than reading blurbs, I judge a lot of books by their covers. It turns out okay more often than the wise would like you to believe.

And be forewarned that many of the books I choose have some magic in them. You know what it’s like after you’ve ended a long relationship with the love of your life? And how for a long time afterward, you date people who look a lot like them? Yeah, that’s me and Severus Snape Harry Potter.

2) If I hate the book, we will switch to a new one.  Life is too short to read crappy books. You wouldn’t continue to date a loser when there is something better out there, would you? Sorry, Essjay. I know you feel compelled to finish a book, even if you hate it. You can still be in my club.

3) Discussion will be limited. You are allowed to talk about what you loved. Unless it is a rare circumstance in which I hated the book but was engaged enough to finish it anyway. In that case, we will trash it together. Gleefully.

My current book is A Discovery of Witches. The prose is a little clumsy in places, but the story has potential. If you can get past the obligatory vampire. Who practices yoga. It’s The Historian meets Twilight/Southern Vampire Mysteries. Don’t give up on it yet.  So far, most of the action has taken place in the Bodleian library at Oxford. The protagonist spends most of her time requesting and poring over priceless manuscripts, which are described in glorious detail. I am a fat kid watching the cooking channel.

Squish's book club has one rule. Don't pee on the books. Which is important to remember if you take your tomes to the potty.


Join me, won’t you?


85 thoughts on “Clubbin’

  1. I am really tempted to give up on the one I’m reading right now because I hate it so much. I feel like I should at least try to make it half-way, though. If I give up, it will mean I delete all the other books by this author I bought in a weak moment of friend recommendations.

  2. I’m down for clubbin’!! Can we sometimes share our favorite book moments through interpretive dance? Or is my penchant for interpretive dance discouraged in ALL da clubs?

  3. I loved Discovery of Witches, you know it’s a series? The second one comes out in June. I, too, use the Oxford Comma. My husband will correct it and it drives me insane…

  4. I punctuate like I talk! Period. If i pause in a sentence there in lies a comma. That is my rule. I actually don’t care what the toffs rule is and chose not to abide by them! I am not good at any book clubs because I choose the books I read, because of their covers. I am reading at least one book at all times, so i really am a reader. I like orange and red books the most! They look good in my book shelves and some of them are great reads! c

    • LOVE THIS!! 😀 I also write the way I talk, although I’m attempting to tone it down on my WordPress blog…you’d have to read my old stuff to be able to tell. Ha ha.

      Anyway. This blog entry was fun to read but much to my pleasant surprise, so were the comments! #win

      (I also write the way I tweet….sometimes.)

  5. I can’t tolerate book clubs either. I am too jaded to be interested in doomed love stories, too old to plow through a sci fi triology (or deca-something), and too sleepy for suspense novels. Thus, I am left with children’s books and non-fiction. A good place to be – but lonely.

  6. I’m with you on the Oxford Comma argument – learned how to punctuated old school, yo! 😉

    And can I join Squish’s book club? It has fewer rules and I’m juvenile enough to be all over that.

  7. The Oxford comma. Hey, I sometimes use AP style at my day job, but I too use the Oxford comma for my own writing. Keeps things clean and clear. And when I start a book, no matter how bad it is, I try very hard to finish it. I just always feel like it will get better. But I like your attitude. Why waste my time? There are better books out there.

  8. Everything about squishes book club makes sense to me. The no-urinating on books policy, the shoes- I could go on. But yours sounds good as well… can I join both or is there also a no double dipping policy?

  9. It just so happens I picked this book up once…and then invoked your second rule. (Which is an excellent rule that I live by, by the way.) I suppose I didn’t get far enough in it to really hate it, but enough to get bored. Sorry! Curious to hear your next recommendation.

  10. I would love to join your book club. But I can’t. Because I too can’t read books that have been recommended to me. I have had to tell my book-loving family not to give me any more books for gifts. I have had to shush people when they start to talk about a book they loved, in case I actually might want to read it. I know. I’m sick. But in the interests of getting healthy, I still might check out Discovery of Witches…..

  11. I was in a book club for a while where you were encouraged to show up and eat dessert even if you didn’t read the book! I still remember a particularly scrumptious strawberry cake we had one night and a few of the books that we read. That worked for me on so many levels! I had to start The Poisonwood Bible twice before I made it through. That snake kept me awake for a few nights, as did the father. When I finished it, I couldn’t read anything else for the longest time. Man. What a story.

  12. What u wrote abt the Oxford comma made me LOL, ROFL, & LMAO. (Sorry — I just had to do that).

    Is “discovery” a collective noun for witches, like a murder of crows or an exaltation of larks?

  13. I run a pretty loosey goosey book club. We take turns picking. No one is obligated to finish or even begin the book. We meet at Panera for soup and snacks and if the book sucked we just bitch about work or in-laws. All in all, a good evening once a month. I am totally reading A Discovery of Witches. I love that kind of stuff.

  14. I have a love-hate relationship with my book club, especially when we are “assigned” a 550 page tome and only have a few weeks to read it. On the positive side, there’s the camaraderie, and I get “ideas” for new reading. I’m not good at hovering around book stacks with no guidance. I love your blog by the way. I think it was recommended by someone in my book club!

  15. Love this! I haven’t been in a book club since I was a kid, because although I read all the time, I can’t commit to reading on a schedule. But Mr. Sandwich and I read a lot of the same books (particularly if it’s a series–right now we’re working our ways through both “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the Hunger Games trilogy), and we enjoy talking about them together. I guess he’s my book club.

  16. The Oxford comma is the correct comma, so if you lost readers for using it then good riddance, I say!

    I’ve thought about joining book clubs, but they all read to slow. A book a month? If I could find a club that reads five books a month, I might consider it.

  17. Do you provide free childcare so we can finish the books?

    I’m totally in if you are.

    Otherwise my participation would dependent on time not trying to pry apart mini-Legos, not cleaning up cat puke, and whether or not my library carries the book…

    So uh, where do you stand on using ellipse?.

  18. “Life is too short to read crappy books.”

    Like you, I haven’t ever gotten into the whole book club thing. But I’d join one if this were its motto. Can I be in your club?

  19. I’m in! Although I have never been in a book club, unless you count all the literature classes I took in college….You’ll have to fore-warn me about the vampire books tho. (I dont like “nice” creatures of the undead; I grew up on Ann Rice. All the Twilight stuff makes me cringe.)
    You comma any way you want, dear – I believe in creative punctuation.

    • These vampires aren’t all cuddly and stuff. But so far their roughest edge seems to be bad manners. I’m sure it’s the yoga that keeps them from killing everyone. Lestat should have become a practitioner.

  20. I’m in a book club. I’m also in real danger of being kicked out. I haven’t read the last four books the members have chosen. Sometimes I read 10 pages and then throw the book across the room. The latest one – Bliss – all I had to know was the subject matter and I knew I wouldn’t be reading it. I am so in agreement – ! If the book is lousy, don’t struggle through it just so you can say you read it! Life is too short. There are millions of other books to read. I wrote down your book suggestion. Just in case, another lousy book gets suggested at the next meeting.

    My book club members are going to start thinking I only attend for the food. They could be right. I’ve been so tempted to read the Amazon reviews of the book and then lie about reading the thing.

  21. Not me – the Oxford comma illustrates all that is right in the world 🙂

    She’s Come Undone was disturbing, insightful, and stuck with me for years. I may need to pull it off the shelf and re-read it now.

  22. You are so popular! I don’t usually read the comments, since there are so many. I’m glad I did today. I do push through books, sometimes it pays off…ok, it rarely pays off. I enjoy getting recommendations, and have been wanting to join a book club, just to get out of the house. Eek! Don’t hate me now! I will have to check out this book next. 😀

  23. Ha. I once talked my book club into giving up on a book half way through the month we were reading it. Push, by Sapphire. I got a couple of chapters in and just realized it would be too depressing for words and that I just didn’t have the emotional reserves to finish it. It turned out everyone else felt the same way. Except for the girl who picked it. But we kicked her out, so it was all good.

  24. Pingback: Day 69 – Warning Light of Guilt « Stopping the Wind

  25. I love books, it seems, as much as you. I’ve never joined a book club before for the same reasons. I want to read what I want to read! I do have this “flaw” though…no matter how much a book sucks, I have to finish. It took me over six months to get through Stephen King’s Needful Things. I wanted to gouge my eyes out w/ every word. I also will not read the book summary. I don’t want to know! I do believe I’ll keep a list of books you’ve suggested and give them a read! Thanks!

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