Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The First Rule of Book Club

I was raised in a household of avid readers. I am often 'shamed' (self inflicted) by other bloggers, my best friend, my daughter and a bevvy of others who are well, 'well read'. Why? I'm a shocking reader.

I used to be fantastic, I'd pick up a book and read it to the end, ignoring all else. If it was good, I could block out the world and wallow in someone else's fantasy. I remember going through my brother's collections of Steinbeck, Thomas Hardy and other classics. I had an addiction for a while to John Grisham and Ken Follet and dare I say it, whilst I understand it's fabrication and far from great literature, I am I think, the only person on the planet that actually enjoyed The DaVinci Code! (maybe it was the pictures, my sister bought me a lovely illustrated hard back as a gift for Christmas at my request). And I really enjoyed my most recent foray, The Kite Runner . . .

ClareBear reads anything and everything. Drummerboy on the other hand is more prone to browsing the dust jacket. How he managed a good score in English during the HSC still amazes me since his stable of literature involved largely Motocross Magazines with photos of semi-naked girls draped uncomfortably yet strangely provocatively over motor bikes. He was good at reading instructions and had a penchant for model aeroplanes from the age of six and is by far the only person in my household that bothers to read instructions on new equipment assembly and operation - but a novel? Never.

I'm not sure if it was my liking for videos and DVD's or the fact that so many of them were representations of some long lost novel done less than well. Then I immersed myself in the idiot box and got into the TV groove, soul destroying stuff. I've had three books sitting on my bedside table for months, all in varying states of unreadness. Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Iron Horseman and one I've almost finished but hardly counts as great literature but is an interesting bio Mao's Last Dancer. I thought about the online club that English Mum has started but couldn't find their July Book in Australia in time for their critique.

In all seriousness, I'm a 'holiday' reader. I'm happy bobbing on a lilo in the pool immersing myself in all sorts of literati or slushy crap. Or languishing under a beach umbrella at Hawks Nest reading something borrowed. However, I find that now, particularly in the evenings, I have much time on my hands and reading needs to be resuscitated. I've decided that television is largely rubbish with the exception of maybe half a dozen shows a week worth my attention. Blogging only takes an hour or so out of my day and my new exercise regime, just half an hour in the morning and an hour at night (Hey, my fitness level is pathetic so I'm working on it).

So when Thommo mentioned that there was an opening in her 'book' club, I put aside my Desperate Housewives, judgemental bias - my fear of highbrow literary posturing and decided that yes, I'd like to join. Mainly because it meant that someone else could choose the book for me and that for the 2nd Thursday of the month, I would actually have to front to some stranger's house and give them my opinion on the manuscript, however uneducated. So, I've taken the plunge, bought the book for October (the next meeting is on the 11th September and that's a bit of a rush to cover a whole novel so I've opted for the 2nd Thursday in October meeting at "Karen's" place (no idea who she is!).

I don't know if I'll stick with it but it's a chance to meet new people and tell them what I think - God knows I love doing that! And to possibly rediscover the magic of reading.

So excuse me now, I have to open Rose Tremaine's "The Road Home". (I wonder if one can read on a treadmill?)

But you know how it is, first rule of book club . . you do not talk about what goes on at book club . .second rule of book club . . you do not talk about what goes on at book club. One book at a time and if this is your first day at book club . .you have to read!

Love this:


laughingwolf said...

i'm reading more these days, cuz i won some books from online pals, bought others cuz i know the authors now :O lol

neat video....

English Mum said...

Yay! You go girl. I have to say I'm a bath reader. I escape in there and have a good wallow. Trouble is, I only really read the same old books: Harlan Coben, Cathy Reichs...serial killers/mass murderers, that sort of thing, so all this poncey stuff in the book club is killing me! And no, I can't even look round on the treadmill without falling off, so I'm really not sure about reading! x

Moon said...

I think I am too similar to EM... I read serial killer books, mainly real accounts, profiling as well. I said to Mrs M on her first visit to my flat, you can tell alot about a person from their bookcase.... Mine goes like this, sport autobiogs, travel, crime, and finally a whole shelf on serial killers !

I have tried recently, Lord of the Flies, 1984.... and my fav, Lord of the Rings .... but I am distracted my the tv, House was good this weeek, and Americas Home Video Show ..... still find that very funny !!!

I read in lobesome spots, planes, airports, and when at home, used to be the bath.... not so good in the shower though !!!

Ropi said...

Well I am picky with books. For example i read a novel about Julius Caesar and it was boring so I couldn't finish despite the topic itself interests me. I also like newspaper because articles are too short not to read them. :D

Grannymar said...

Go for it Girl! I am so slow at reading they would evict me from any bookclub! ;)

steph said...


Rules were made to be broken. Forget the friggin' book analysis - you're much more interesting than any book - I want to hear all the gossip from Karen's place!

I could count on one hand the number of books I've read since I discovered blogging. No book ever gave me as much enjoyment!

And btw Grannymar doesn't need books - she's a 'nugget' of information!

ian said...

We're doing "Suite Francaise" at our book club on Friday night, and, in October, O'Casey's play "The Plough and the Stars" along with Yeats' poem "Easter 1916". Living in Ireland, we tend to do a lot of our own writers - Sam Beckett, Sebastian Barry, John McGahern and Jennifer Johnston have all figured in the past year or so.

Baino said...

Hey Wuffa . . .time used to be my enemy but I have plenty of it these days. You're an 'author' in your own right tho.

EM really? I had you pegged as a bookworm due to the book club but it's great to have others suggest material. I usually find a book I like then stick to the author only to be a bit disappointed with their next efforts. Heheh . . must have a big bath! Ours is one of those useless 3/4 size things that they used to put in during the 70s, most unsatisfying!

Moon, my bookshelf is sadly lacking in thrillers other than the Silence of the Lambs et al. And yes, reading in the shower could present problems.

Ropi, you're still at school so reading is mandatory . . I read a heap of stuff at school and university but sort of petered off. Ancient history interests me but I prefer it in novel form. Australian Author Colleen McCulloch has a huge novel about Ancient Rome - "The First Man in Rome" too big for me to tackle!

GM: I think I'll be faster now that I've got new specs and can actually SEE the words heheh!

Steph: Actually I'm quite looking forward to the goss as well I only know one of the women so it's also a good opportunity to meet newbies.
She's a nugget alright . . or a 'unit' as we'd say out here!

Now Ian why did I just KNOW you were in a book club! I have to say, I'm not too keen on Poems or Plays but have read James Joyce Ullysses and can't remember a word of it! Maybe all this cerebral activity and exercise will reactivate the memory!

Jay said...

I certainly can't read on the treadmill! I'd go dizzy and fall over, but what's new? LOL!

I tried a Rose Tremaine once and couldn't get into it. I'm possibly a little bit lazy about that, and it may be partly due to the fact that I read three or four books at once. If I find a book hard to get going on, there are other books I can pick up. I might give it another try, maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

It'll be interesting to see what you think!

Bear Naked said...

I thought I would be able to read while exercising on my recumbent bicycle.
But unfortunately one of two things happen, either I get so engrossed in the book that I stop pedalling OR I am pedalling so hard that the book is jumping and I can't read even one paragraph.
So I have to decide each day to pedal or to read--Tough decision.

Bear((( )))

Ces said...

I'm with Steph. You are much more interesting than the books. Why don't you write your own book. Why do I keep coming back here, because you are very captivating. I read all types of books: history, geography, poetry, classics, really old and dead authors like Jefferson, Adams, Tocqville, Faraday, Aristotle, Jane Austen, Pearl S. Buck, Voltaire, Martin Luther, Dickens. I even read old textbooks, interesting to see the change in political correctness and history revisionism. I also buy children's books for their illustrations. I get attracted to titles like "The Lost Books of the Bible" with the chapters Sodom, etc, the chapters removed because they were thought to be pornographic. I read architectural books, scientific and clinical books. Don't laugh - I read the dictionary when I eat lunch in my office. I even have a book about books! However, I must read this book at my bedside which I inteded to read for a long time: The Sex Lives of Cannibals. My husband said it's funny. I can't stand book clubs (I tried to join twice) Some of the books they selected were boring. I cried so much reading The Good Earth, my tears soaked the pages. I am sorry, I wrote a book here!

Baino said...

Haven't yet opened the cover Jay but it won some prize or other. I'll let you know if its my cup of tea. If it doesn't move right along, I'll give it a thumbs down . .sometimes prizes mean pretentious!

Ah now Ms Bear, I take it you're not a multi-tasker. I reckon I could do it but part of the walking thing is to swing yer arms! I'll leave reading for the couch!

Ces! MY GOD Where do you find the time woman! I mean, I have loads of time in the evening but reading the dictionary at lunchtime! Crikey. (Although JD makes me reach for my Thesaurus on regular occasions). So you work full time, do all this reading, run a household, raise children, draw and paint to perfection . . .you must never sleep! Well let me know about the Sex Lives of Cannibals, I think one of the ideas of the 'club' is to suggest future reading!

Megan said...

Hoping after this move to join my sister-in-law's book club.

Meantime I am in on EM's virtual version and you can bet I will have some "non-poncy" suggestions for next month! Can't just burst in there with it, you know. Got to get the mood of the room...

Fall TV slate looking less than stellar but I admit I will be checking out Life on Mars...

Ces said...

Haha! I have a dusty house. I am a terrible housekeeper. I only do housekeeping in self-defense. Not messy, dirty or filthy but won't be a candidate for House Beautiful. My husband tidies up.

Bimbimbie said...

shhhhhh just between you and me, sitting on my bookshelf is a copy of the DaVinci Code paperback bought when it was first released .... and never opened from the day it landed on my shelf. I have to be in the right mood to read and finish a novel, my wrist has to be strong too otherwise it lets go of the novel and it hits me in the head and wakes me up ;)
Seriously I love books but my taste these days have wandered over to gorgeous reference books that you can dip in and out of ... but if I am in the mood for a page turner I like fantasy novels. Does keeping book club rules about gossip apply in blogland .... nah didn't think so either *!*

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

You do realise, don't you, that bookclubs are just an excuse to go out drinking! :-)

Christopher said...

Book clubs are an excuse to go out drinking? Obviously I've been going to the wrong book clubs...and I never needed an excuse anyway. My philosophy is, "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink."
What drives me nuts is I find myself reading a lot of children's literature these days--particularly stuff I read as a kid. My wife will look at the cover of what I'm reading and ask, "How old are you?" Yeah, it's okay when it's Harry Potter, but for some reason when it's The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet I'm immature.
Maybe you're just in a non-reading rut. Sometimes I go through periods of not reading anything but advice columns--the literary equivalent of really, really, really trashy television.

Baino said...

I think we've had Life on Mars here but I didn't go there maybe I should have?

Ces, well you might have a messy house but certainly can't say that about your beautiful art. It's incredibly detailed and tidy!

Bimbimbie, don't worry about the Da Vinci Code, you'll only get ridiculed for reading it! I love 'coffee' table books as well. I have a huge glossy Dreamtime Stories book, given to me as a wedding present with beautiful illustrations and an outline of about 50 dreamtime stories. It's lovely.

AV well I'm hopeful of a chardy or two to loosen the tongue shall we say!

G'day Christopher and welcome aboard. Always nice to get fresh meat! And I guess with two kids (now adults) I've certainly done my share of CJ Lewis, Roald Dahl etc. Nothing wrong with kids books! And I have been guilty of buying the odd Who Magazine in the past!

Christopher said...

Baino, wow, you've called me fresh meat...flattery will get you everywhere, you know.
When you say Who Magazine, is that as in Doctor Who? As in "The Ballad of Doctor Who" by that wonderful band Bullamakanka?
And no one's ever too old for Dahl.

Dunja said...

This is great info to know.