Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Clubs - to read or not to read? That is the question.

I am in a reading conundrum. My book club is Wednesday and I have to finish the Scarlet Letter and I still have Sons by Pearl Buck to finish. I originally did not perceive this as a problem. I had wanted to finish Sons before I got into the Scarlet Letter, but now the book club is too close so I have to interrupt one to get the other one done. I didn’t perceive this as a huge problem because I would just renew Sons online at my library - - -no such luck, someone has it on hold. So I have to return it tomorrow. So either something will go unread or I will not be grocery shopping.

I find this to be one of the problems with being in a book club. Although, I love the camaraderie and literary conversation, I find it very difficult to time the ending of the book properly with the club meeting. Either I finish it far too early and can’t remember exactly what happened or confuse it with the next book I read; or I wait too long and I am cramming, if I can even possibly finish it. I also hate when we end up reading something I am not interested in. Although on the positive side, sometime I may get a pleasant surprise and read something I would not ordinarily have read like Water For Elephants. I have also read books that slogged by like grains of sand pushing through an infinitely constricted glass bell.

I think that it is possible that Book Clubs have run their course for me. I needed a Book Club so that I had an excuse to read again. As an avid reader, I was devastated that once I gave birth to my first child, reading became a luxury I could not afford. I almost should have turned in my library card as I checked into the maternity ward. I was thrilled when I could glean a couple extra seconds in the bathroom to read one article in a magazine. Even when they were toddlers, I couldn’t bring myself back to reading fiction. There were too may interruptions. Just as I would find myself transported into the novel, some beckon or call would yank me back to reality. I was able to begin reading non-fiction as I found it much easier to leave and come back to a non-fiction book. Rarely do you transport yourself into a book about the workings of a mind or about the state of our nation. Finally, though time began to reappear in my life and the one thing I wanted was to read. I still had to make it a priority or other people would try to eak those minutes away from me that is why a book club was so helpful. For example, I love reading before I go to bed, but my husband claimed that I was cutting into “His” time. I won’t bore you with the words that came out of my mouth that night. Any of you that have had children understand that you have given up a great deal of your life to other people (I am not implying that this was bad just honest) and I’ll be darned that any other human had a claim on “MY TIME” unless they were crippled or feeble. If I wanted to give someone “MY TIME” that was my choice. Of course our conversation was not quite so calm and definitely not so short. However, once I joined my Book Club, all I would have to say is that the book club is in a couple days, I need to finish this and it seemed everyone understood. My kids would go find something to do as I read a few more pages. My husband wouldn’t complain about the light on for a few minutes in our bed. It was like a child saying, “I have to finish my homework. I need just a few more minutes.” But now the kids have grown older and they respect my independence and my husband has learned to live with my little idiosyncrasies. Now the instead of me using the Book Club, I think the Book Club is adding pressures that I don’t need. Reading is my joy, not a chore. Hmmmmmm! I think when we move, I may just let this extracurricular activity just float away.

1 comment:

lilacsky said...

I think it's awesome that you're part of a book club! Do you guys ever have trouble figuring out what to read? One of the things you need is a good list of books to use -- that will give direction to your book club. When I wanted to start a book club the first question I wanted answered was, what book should we read??

I am a total library junkie – I am there 4 days in a week! I would usually scour the library shelves and see what jumps out, until I found this reading journal called “Read, Remember, Recommend” from -- it’s just this great little resource with Awards Lists (including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Los Angels Times Award for Fiction and National Book Award for Fiction), Notable lists (Oprah’s book club is one of them) and Author Pages. It even has an area for your favorite authors and for valuable reading insights. It’s really helped organize the reading for my book club. (I’ve finished half of the Awards list) Check it out – managing a book club becomes so much more enjoyable with it.

You gotta get ahold of this reading journal! :) Again it's at Good luck with your book club and I hope this helps.