I have joined a book club. Apart from online dating, is there a bigger cliché of lonely modern urban life?
My friend C was telling me about it one night in the pub and I laughed so much at his story of nearly getting into a fight with a woman at the previous meeting, that I was tempted to join myself. Then the next day, I was in an Oxfam bookshop and there was a copy of the book they were reading next, so that sealed it – I was joining a book club.
The first meeting was brilliant Not due to any great meeting of minds and a shared love of literature, but because it was just as funny as C’s description of it. I spent most of the night trying hard not to laugh. There was, as I think is obligatory at these things, a woman who looked at everything from a feminist perspective, a literary snob who had read the book in the original French and someone very argumentative (my friend C).
As predicted by C, the other members of the book club would try to turn the subject to something other than the book in question as soon as possible. Sure enough after one sentence about the book, the feminist had moved onto talking about her son, the education system and anything else other than the book, C desperately and unsubtly tried to steer her back on track and I tried to stifle my giggles.
To add to the amusement, the pub where we meet is also the meeting point of a rival book club and I was told to look as if we were having a better discussion than them. Not to actually have a lively discussion, you understand, just to appear to do so. To be honest the other book club did look a younger more fun crowd than my lot and I may defect in the future.
Tonight is my second meeting. This month’s book was Snow by Orhan Pamuk which I mostly found tedious, but I’m looking forward to the discussions or non-discussions regardless. That is, if anyone else has read the book – apparently there was one meeting where nobody had managed to finish the book and most hadn’t even started it.