I've always been an avid reader and for most of my life it was always a dream that one day I would be part of a book club. The mere thought of a book club conjured up an image of well bred ladies gathering every month to dissect and discuss a literary great over a cup of tea and perhaps some scones. Book club always had an air of the Bronte Sisters whenever I thought about it.
Unfortunately it wasn't going to be a reality for me until I reached my early 40's. You see, book clubs are quite difficult to break into. Think of the cliquiest group at school and trying to penetrate their inner circle. Not. Going. To. Happen. It was like that for me with book clubs. Whenever I heard someone talking about "their" book club, my ears would prick up and I would suddenly be filled with questions and they had my unwavering attention, complete with lean in and constant staring. I almost became stalkerish in my interest. Looking back, it is no wonder I was never asked to join.
In 2008 that all changed.
I was finally asked to join a book club in my suburb. Me. Yes that's right. I'd finally made it into the book club elitists. I was there. I was one of them. No longer an outsider. I belonged to a book club. Me.
You would think with my desire to join a book club that I would have known what to expect verbatim. Not so. I was very fond of living in a fantasy world in my head, so all my worldly knowledge of book clubs was either a figment of my wild imagination or something I had read about in a book.
I did know that everyone is meant to buy the same book, read it over the month and then when we meet, we critique the book. I also knew that some members would not have read the book in the due time and would have to "bluff" their way through. Deep down I knew I'd be one of those women.
If I was to be truly honest it was really the "thought of being in a book club" that appealed to me more than anything. I felt it would give me official "book loving" status. I did have nerves about reading a book I didn't like and having to critique it. In fact I was rather worried about this aspect.
For my first book club appearance I wasn't required to bring a book, nor to have read a book. So far, so good. I felt quite happy that I was just going to sit and observe. This was a bonus.
When I arrived I met the loveliest group of women who were all standing around a huge table covered entirely by books. There were over a hundred books on this table. My eyes widened and I was as excited as a bookworm in a bookshop. In fact I was so excited I didn't pay any attention during introductions and it was about 3 months before I knew everyone's name. The shame.
Oh, the books. You are probably wondering why there were so many books on a table? Me too. This book club is not your everyday, run of the mill, Bronte sisters book club. This book club is "MY" type of book club. This is how it works.
- Every month book club is held at a different home.
- Every member (there are only 10 of us) pays $10 at each book club & this is given to the person who is the next host
- The host is responsible for buying $100 worth of new books, with the $100 received as per above
- The host is also responsible for providing wine & nibblies (not tea and scones) booyeah!
- Members mill around the "library" table on arrival and discuss/choose books for around 30 minutes. There is no limit on the number of books you take.
- Members retire to the "sitting" room to drink wine, eat cheese and crackers and natter about kids, husbands, clothes and the odd book or two for the next 2.5 hours
- Members go home feeling rejuvenated, slightly tipsy and with 3 new books to read over the next month.
Awesome right? Absolutely. Each member has different tastes in books and we all take the opportunity to buy books we might not normally buy. It has definitely broadened the range of books I like to read. The best part is that the person who buys the books ultimately gets to keep them. We write our names inside the cover and whenever we leave the book club (as if you would) or everyone has read them we take them home for our own book shelf. I have been in the book club for 3 years now and have 12 new books that I haven't yet read. It is the best.
So, are you in a book club? Do you love it? Tell me, do you spend more time talking about "girl stuff" or the actual books?
This blog post is dedicated to my lovely Twitter friend @easynowtiger who wanted to know a bit more about my book club. If you don't follow him on Twitter you so should. He's ace.
Photo: John Woudstra http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/lifestyle/the-early-bird-is-the-bookworm-20100114-m9tx.html