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.
Join me, won’t you?