Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why I’m Afraid to Join a Book Club

I can be a dawdler when it comes to reading. I read the page and then go back to look for a specific phrase that struck me. If it’s fiction I’m reading, I've been known to stir the soup while I'm reading. But if I’m learning something new, technical, business or self-development, I can “work” on a book for months or even years.

My next reads

I pick one up and then another. I have been known to read 3 books at once. Different kinds of books of course, they can't all be fiction or non-fiction or a book I want to study to learn, that would be too confusing for me. But there’s something delicious about moving from creating the best Twitter post to a mystery novel to How to Talk to Anyone in the span of one day. Now that, fires up my brain and makes me jump for joy! (Almost literally sometimes.)

The first Book Club evening I was invited to almost scared me away before I even got there. My friend picked me up and her pages were bookmarked with little sticky notes for her talking points. What! I didn’t know this was going to be serious business. I had heard of Book Clubs where the book was covered in minutes and then the group moved on to wine and fancy crackers. I guess that is what I was expecting.

I had read every page of the book and knew which parts were etched into me, it seems that I was the only one in the room who liked this dark, brooding book (Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible). I went the very next day and bought a package of sticky notes and started a new habit that it seems I can’t imagine living without now. But that was the only Book Club I ever attended.

I realized many things that day as the other women chatted. I understood that I already had an interest in a variety of genres and styles of writing, that I didn’t want to ever feel rushed to finish a book for "four weeks this Thursday" and I decided that life really was too short to spend time pouring over something that didn’t jump off the shelf to me (too weird, too biased, too uncomical, too anything). I know what I like, but every once in awhile I think that maybe I am depriving myself of something that could be awesome.

I always appreciate a recommendation from someone I know, and do not feel the confidence in reading something because it has received a Prize. I have read just about everything by my favourite authors, John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany still being my all-time favourite), Lawrence Hill (try his Blood – non-fiction) and have a stacks of books waiting to be read.

The fact that there might not be enough remaining time in my life to re-read some of my favourites makes me sad. Books like Pillars of the Earth or Mists of Avalon or lesser known One Thousand White Women or Following the Wrong God Home or the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. All certainly worth your time in my eyes.
Book Clubs may not be for me, although I will always listen to what you recommend and if your book made you stop and think, pull out a sticky note, wonder what the characters are doing after you close the book or wish it never ended, then it could be a book for me. And I might decide to join your Book Club if I were invited.

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