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THE BOOK CLUB
29 November 2012
I almost didn't go to the book club tonight (I didn't get the news about the stroke until I came home, so that wasn't the reason). It rained a lot earlier in the day, the first of several storms that are going to be rolling through here over the next few days. The thought of driving into Sacramento at night in a heavy rain was very off-putting.
But the weather reports were that things would be slowing down and maybe even be dry tonight and tomorrow and then pick up again. By sundown, there was a sun to go down and the rain had stopped. I was curious to see what others in the group would have to say about this month's book selection, "The Stupidest Angel" by Christopher Moore, and I had enjoyed my first two meetings and was bound and determined to "bond" with this group.
Last month we had a small group gathered around the table in the book store where these meetings are held. I think it was because nobody liked the book and few finished it and maybe were embarrassed to admit it.
I thought I was getting there early but it turned out I was only 5 minutes early and the parking lot was nearly full.
I was surprised to discover that we were not, in fact, at the table where we have met before. The store had a Christmas tree up in an area where there was a couch and someone had made cookies for us and chairs were gathered around the tree and a faux fireplace was there, giving it a very cozy feel. Right away the mood was very festive.
Also, instead of the handful of members from last time there were fifteen people at this meeting. I don't know anybody's name yet, but I'm recognizing faces and people recognized me, and that was fun.
The first order of business was to discuss our upcoming book selections. The group rotates through contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and classic fiction. Moore's book was our contemporary fiction selection and next up is a book about the gold rush, which will be the non-fiction book, but we had nothing scheduled beyond that.
People had huge stacks of books at their feet and there was a list of possible choices passed around and the discussion was quite lively as we put in our voice for the book we thought would be a great choice. We ultimately came up with the next three books, so we are good until April.
I'll tell ya, these readers put me to shame. I keep a database of books I read throughout the year. Last year I hoped to read 50 books, but fell short and read something like 43. This year I was determined to beat that record and, thanks to working at Logos and my pledge to read a book a day when I'm there, I will have finished 80 books by the end of the year, which is an impressive record for me, but listening to the people around me last night, I am a piker. They are so well read and so extensively read. It is a challenge just to listen them.
When it came to discussing this month's book it was obvious that you either loved it or hated it, and the group was about split in half. Since the only reason I finished the book was that we were going to discuss it, and since I decided it really should have been named "The Stupidest BOOK," it was clear which camp I was in.
In addition to having (in my opinion) no redeeming social (or entertainment, for that matter) value, there was nothing really to discuss once you got beyond the stupidity of all the undead rising from the cemetery and destroying the town hall and eating people's brains.
I mean...where do you go from there?
Everyone seemed in agreement that there was little to actually discuss about the book and mostly we went back to discussing book choices, the impending retirement of one man in the group, a woman's trip to the deep south to attend a "real" Cotillion (she was amazed that such things even exist in this day and age) and more thoughts on books. There is a man in the group, one of the younger people, though by no means "young," who is the group expert on all things Jane Austen, which surprised me. He was the last one I would have picked to be an Austen-o-phile.
I also found a soulmate in a woman who sat behind me and said that her favorite book of all time was "East of Eden." After the meeting broke up, I talked with her and told her about "Journal of a Novel," Steinbeck's collection of letters to his publisher while he was writing "East of Eden," which is a fascinating read when paired with the novel itself. She hadn't heard of that book and was going to check it out.
The evening was an absolute delight and I'm so glad that the rain let
up and I took the time to drive into Sacramento to attend the meeting. We have no
meeting in December, so I have plenty of time to read the long-ish next selection.
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