Saturday, September 25, 2021

Book Clubs and Opinions.

Many years ago, I wanted to join a book club.

There was a sign in the local library advertising some, suggesting we ask the librarian about them. I did, and she shook her head.

"There are a few, but I don't think they're what you're looking for. Do you want to chat about the book for five minutes and spend an hour talking about grandchildren you obviously don't have?"

We had a laugh about that, and discussed the books these groups read. They didn't really suit my reading patterns. Now, I am very happy to read broadly, outside my usual choices and comfort zone, and I do. But I recall looking at the lists and thinking that after one or two of those books, I'd simply give up.

While I was thrilled there were book clubs which were well attended, and there were people reading, I was really disappointed there wasn't one locally that suited me. This was pre-Facebook days, and so we didn't have that avenue to explore. I kept my ears open, but nothing ever popped up in my area. And then I stopped thinking about it, stopped looking, moved to the UK and got caught up in life.

Occasionally I would watch the Book Group, a dark comedy series about, of course, a book club. Oh, how I wished I could have joined that group.

About a month ago, Lindsey mentioned she'd been told of a book club that might suit me. I looked into it, saw the broad range of books they had read in the previous twelve months, noted they met in a fine pub, and decided I'd give it a go. I also wanted to be straight in, and so with less than a week to go I bought a copy of that month's book, read it in three days, really enjoyed most aspects of it, and was ready to go and discuss.

The big day arrived and I couldn't go. That morning I was told my friend Jev had passed. I needed to stay home.

The next meeting is a couple of weeks away. The book is Shuggie Bain, which won the Booker prize and has been well received. I borrowed it, read it, and don't love it. In fact, I can't understand how it was worthy of inclusion in the shortlist.

There is a story in there, but it is flawed in many ways. Oh, and it needs a hard edit.

I'm pretty excited about my first meeting. But as the newbie I'll have to sit back and be restrained until I get a feel for the group. What if they all love the book? How do they feel about dissent?

I may just sit quietly for a few months until I feel confident I can have a different opinion that is received well. Even then I will have to be gentle.

In the meantime, that's me in the corner sipping an ale and listening with interest.

No comments: