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Making Book on Book Club September 15, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Life.
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The three most important things about our book club are booze, food, and what’s that other one? Oh yeah – books. Our book club had a rather inauspicious beginning. Carmella saw the movie The Jane Austen Book Club. Next thing I knew, we had ourselves a book club.

Our first book was A Thousand Splendid Suns (Kelley’s pick) and we got off to a bang up start eating Middle Eastern food at her place. We’d all read the book and talking about women in burkas generated a lively discussion. That was almost two years ago. We’re all teachers, though we let Tina’s sister Angela join because she has a great house a high tolerance for “teacher talk.”

Some books we’ve liked more than others. To be honest, there’s been several times when half of the members downloaded excepts from the book on-line. I think Angela’s last pick How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read was an apt choice. Angela was the only one who’d read it, but we still talked about it. And ate. And drank.

We’re all crazy busy, and it’s become apparent that Book Club is just an excuse to get together with people we really like under the guise of talking about books. I envisioned intellectual introspection, but what I got was a second helping of fettucini. Can’t remember the book, but the fettucini was killer.

When I went to England last spring, I went to my friend Lesley’s book club. We met at The Station, the local pub, where we spent a fun evening discussing the book White Tiger and the dark side of life in Mumbai while enjoying the local Asphal cider.

Last summer I visited my college roommate Cathy. She’s been in a book club for like a bazillion years. Her book club even has its own blog, Blather, which you’ll find on my blogroll. I was led to believe it was a Serious Book Club. But while I was there, Cathy’s husband made the observation that they only spend around 20 minutes actually talking about the book at book club. Hmmm. Come to think of it, the last post on Blather was a recipe!

Last Sunday we met at Kristina’s. In the evite there was mention of discussing a possible change to our “book club format.”  Every other month? Only New York Times bestsellers? No. It was proposed that we have a theme for the food and everyone bring a potluck dish related to the theme. “Will the theme be related to the book?” I asked naively. Kristina took a deep breath. “Well, we were thinking that maybe we could just leave out the book part.” She quickly added, “But we can still call it Book Club!”  Oh dear. Is this The End or To Be Continued…?

When I emailed my friend Bev in England about this “change in format,” she sent me a link to a hilarious episode of The Vicar of Dibley about what happens at a book club when no one’s read the book. Actress Dawn French plays the female vicar, self-described as a “Babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.” The book club scene is a minute into the clip and is a hoot. Cheers!



1. Bev from england - September 15, 2009

I love the sound of your book club….i always wanted to join one, but a relaxed one where u just talk about the book…nothing deep or highbrow. Food always is a good thing…i wish u much success with the new format !

Glad you enjoyed the vicar…its a fab show, mostly full of the most ridiculous, silly people but somehow it really works and lots is side splittingly funny. As i read your mail I had to think of this clip and was so pleased to find it to share with everyone.
Bev – I just watched the one where the Vicar meets Johnny Depp. It’s so real. Jan


2. Catherine Sherman - September 15, 2009

I wondered why you weren’t answering my emails! Sure enough you were writing another hilarious post! Sometimes, our book club talks about a book as long as 25 minutes! I’m missing book club this Thursday as we begin our long drive out your way. Amazingly, I read all of the one book and maybe a quarter of the other for this month.

I think we’d all read more and enjoy it more if the books were mysteries, rather than dreary, meandering semi-literary tomes about sad, miserable people, which seem to be the usual picks. At least mysteries have you wondering who dunnit and why, even if the characters are equally if not more pathetic. One of our favorites was “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. Next month we’re reading the second in the series — “The Girl Who Played With Fire”. (I’ve already finished it!) The author is Stieg Larsson. We’re reading it in the original Swedish (Just kidding!)

Cathy – Actually most of our books are mysteries, as so few of us have actually read the book. 🙂 Jan


3. Christine - September 16, 2009

Now that I’m home from my sober, solo travels and drinking with my friends again, I can finally look back fondly at some of my destinations. I loved London and want to go back as soon as I’ve paid of my last trip (three years?). Seeing that hilarious clip was a great reminder of what I enjoyed.

The Winnie the Pooh bit was hysterical. Although I didn’t particularly enjoy Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), the park there was spectacular. It’s called Assiniboine Park and has a zoo. A long time ago, a British military officer fell in love with a bear there. He went back to England raving about it, and Milne heard about the cub. Hence the name “Winnie.” The Winnipeg Zoo can’t use the name “Winnie the Pooh,” though, because Disney owns the rights. So they have to refer to Milne’s influence as “Winnie the Bear.” Not quite the same.


4. elissestuart - September 16, 2009

Where do I find the clip about the Vicar meeting Johnny Depp?
I always love your posts, and I would love to watch this series.
The book club scene was a scream.
A couple years ago I actually tracked down the complete season of “To The Manor Born.” I may have to do the same with this.

Elisse – Go to Youtube and search for The Vicar of Dibley. Various episodes will come up. When I saw the one about meeting Johnny Depp, I wondered if he was actually in it. He is! Jan


5. tina - September 20, 2009

Having missed our last club meeting, and thus having not been informed of the change in format, I must place here my thoughts on the matter. First of all I will miss the challenge of convincingly speaking about books I did not read while at the same time giving Jason a load of mess for not reading them himself. Secondly, I’m all for giving up the ruse as long I’ll still be allowed to treat the club as my unofficial therapy sessions. Lastly, who’s up next and what are we eating/drinking?

Tina – I think this coup was staged precisely because you and the ever erudite Angela were AWOL. I thought you HAD read all the books, so you are indeed a convincing BSer. Group therapy is still available. Someone mentioned something about a Mediterranean theme. Jason said he’d bring olives, Erin said she’s bring olive oil. I said I’d bring pimentos to put in the olives. Did someone say martini? Jan


6. Janelle - September 26, 2009

Great stuff. I love the truthiness of it. I’m just on the line of being an introvert, and women’s gatherings kind of scare me (let’s just say that if you’ve ever played a silly baby shower game you’d know why), but your non-book club sounds like a good time. I’m all for drinking and eating!

Janelle – For the record, I’m SO not into those baby shower games. >shudder< I feel your pain. Someone overheard that we were taking the book out of book club, and their reaction was, "Hey, now I'm interested in joining.” Of course we do a Friday Happy Hour as well, so we're all well lubricated. Jan


7. misscheese - October 1, 2009

How sad is it that when I saw the first picture on this post, I went, “Ohhh ‘Rita…Is it Friday yet?” You know it’s been a long when, on Wednesday, you are thinking about that margarita for the “school board meeting” on Friday..

Loved reading the post about your book club! My friends and I have been talking about starting one soon. Thanks for the ideas!


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