Move over Boden spring mac, the middle class woman’s essential ‘must have’ is membership of a book club. Book clubs make us feel all is right with the world. They’re a chance to see friends, talk about something else other than kids, schools and work, and - crucially - to feel a bit superior to the TOWIE watching masses.
But book clubs are fragile entities. It’s easy to kill them. Here are 5 dangers to avoid if you want to keep yours going strong.
- The over opinionated friend. Yes, of course, the point of the book club is to talk about the book - to share ideas, pick apart the prose, discuss the feelings the words evoked. None of this is possible if one member insists on shrieking ‘It’s an allegory!!!’ ‘It’s a bloody allegory, why are we still talking about this?” Because no one will want to ask the over zealous member to leave, the book club will either have to start meeting in secret (awkward) or just give up altogether (sad, but preferable to hideous discussion with the book club bore.)
- Over ambitious theming. If your book club is going strong, you may be tempted to stretch it a little further. Wouldn’t it be fun, someone will say, to make some food that goes with the book? We ate pie with the Life of Pi, hot dogs with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, but it was a good few months before anyone felt brave enough to follow the authentic Ukranian national dishes, (and music) that accompanied A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. Keep any food simple. Crisps and olives will do. Just don’t forget the wine. But....
- Too much Sauvignon Blanc. It’s so nice to be out on a weekday, and one more glass won’t hurt, but it’s very easy to get carried away. Soon the book discussion is dispatched within ten minutes, and the rest of the evening is spent dissecting husbands and exes and polishing off another bottle or two. Terrible mid week hangovers utterly wipe out the warm glow one expects from a book club, and people will stop coming.
- Laziness. Can’t we just watch the film? What about the BBC adaptation on DVD? The book club that drifts away from books towards discussions of Sean Bean is destined for failure.
- Middlemarch. The death knell for a book club. Someone will confess ‘I’ve never read Dickens’ and it’s only a short hop from there until ‘we should try the classics’ rears its fearful head. Attempt anything pre-1900 and over 450 pages and your book club will shrivel up and die.
P.S It is seven months since our book club started Middlemarch, and we have no plans to meet soon.