Wish me luck

I finished reading The Gate to Women’s Country today.  For the third or fourth time – I don’t remember.  I love this book.  Since I read it this time for my NOW book club, and since it was my pick, I read it more carefully and took notes.  I feel so virtuous.  And I’m excited for book club, but we don’t meet for another week (the other reason notes were important).

Happily, Elaine finally remembered to bring me my very own personally autographed copy of Beauchamp Besieged, so I’ll start it tonight.  I’m a little nervous.  I want to like it because she’s so nice, but what if it’s bad?

Book Club News

The SWV NOW Book Club meeting (we discussed Negroland) was really good.  Of course it was – these are good people.  We ate, we chatted, we drank a little wine, we talked about the book.  (Don’t tell my other book club, but this was more fun.)  That was on a Thursday night.  My other book club was meeting the following Tuesday to discuss Our Souls At Night, so I read my way through that, made a couple of notes, and then totally flaked on the meeting.  I didn’t remember until the next morning.  Maybe it’s a sign that I should just stop going to that one.  I haven’t been since the end of March.

Back to the SWV NOW book club and how it’s just better: our next book, The Gate to Women’s Country, was my choice, and it really didn’t take much convincing to get the others to agree to read it.

I hope they like it.  It’s one of my favorites.  If they don’t like it, I might cry.  I’ll certainly suffer from flashbacks to when my first book club didn’t like World War Z.  Most of them didn’t even read it.  Snobs.

Applying life lessons

Michelle supplied actual wisdom to this website in her comment on my post the other day, and I have decided to apply it to my life.  Life is too short to read books that don’t grab me, so I just won’t.  I did finish my NOW book club book (it was good, it was interesting, I didn’t love it), but the very next book I was supposed to read was for my other book club: Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf.  The blurb wasn’t interesting to me, and the Kindle version was $11.99.  The library had it, but it was out and there was a waiting list (and book club meets in less than a week).  Was it worth $11.99 to me if I might quit after 50 pages?  Not really.  But I joined the book club to talk about books with other readers, and if they introduce me to good books I wouldn’t ordinarily pick out for myself, that’s a good thing, right?  I would feel a little guilty going to a book club meeting without having finished the book we’re talking about, but a) that doesn’t make my opinion less valid (why didn’t I like it?), and b) no one says I have to go that month.

I took my dilemma to John.  Given these circumstances what would he do?  He would find a free download of the book or otherwise look for a cheaper way to get it, that’s what he’d do.  Smart, although not officially condoned by me.  Without going into any specifics (ahem), I did get a copy of it, and I started it with every intention of giving it 50 pages (or in this case, since it’s digital and I know the paper version is only around 200 pages, giving it 20 or 25%) before putting it down.

Who is surprised that I was hooked by the third page?

The pressure’s on

I’m reading too slowly this week.  I need to finish my current book and then read Negroland by Margo Jefferson for the new SWV NOW book club meeting next Thursday, and as soon as I finish Negroland, I have to read Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf for my other book club meeting the following Tuesday.  I don’t have time to write to you.  I must read!

I hate to say I don’t want to read, but neither of those books excites me.  And now I feel like a bad person.   This is good for me!  Expands my horizons!  Personal growth!  “Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.”  Aw, Carrie Fisher.

I can’t find that clip on YouTube, but you know what?  I shouldn’t be looking for it.  I have to read!

Off course

My plans for the evening have been derailed.  I rode (great lesson – more tomorrow, or at least pictures tomorrow), I came home, I started cooking dinner.  The plan was to eat early and then head out to book club.  The eating part happened.  The book club did not because, well, it depends on how you look at it.

From one angle, I’m a big baby.  My throat hurts, and it hurts to swallow, and I don’t want to be sick, and I’m cold, and I want to take a hot shower and crawl into bed and NOT GET SICK.  (And whine.  Let’s not forget the whining.)

From another angle, I’m being solicitous of my fellow book club members by staying away when I might have something they could catch.  I’m being careful of my health by resting now, early, in the hopes that it won’t get worse, and I won’t get John sick.  I’m a good person, damn it.

What I’m annoyed about, aside from the discomfort, is how fast it came on.  I guess my throat was tickling a little earlier in the day, but I felt great while I was riding, and I babbled for half an hour or more with Mom and Dad on the phone and didn’t notice any problems.  After that, WHAM.

So.  Tea for dessert, hot shower, then bed with all the blankets.  I can beat this thing.

Quick to judge

Here’s the thing I don’t like about my book club: I think they’re book snobs.

There are at least two people who like science fiction, but not many more than that.  And I can understand not liking it (well, I can’t, but I’m not going to give anyone a hard time about it), but that doesn’t mean you should look down your nose at it.  They read The Martian sometime last year, and that has become their go-to joke when they need an example of a science fiction book they all hated.  Really?  The Martian?  That book was more science than fiction.  If you want an example of bad science fiction, I can help you out, but The Martian ain’t it.

They’re not completely against light fiction.  Most of the group liked The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which is pretty light, but even then, a couple of them dismissed it as candy.  Our next book is by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is a necessary antidote to The Sympathizer, but I expect half the group to think it’s twaddle, too.

Of COURSE not everyone in the group is going to like each book, but you can dislike something without dismissing an entire genre as beneath your notice.  At the end of the last meeting, someone suggested we go around the table and say what we’re reading now, and I didn’t want to.  I’m reading science fiction, and I didn’t want to have to deal with their judgment*.  That is not a nice feeling.

I need to find (or start) an SFF book club.  I guess it’ll have to wait until we stop moving.  It would suck to start one up and then move away.

*Can someone explain to me WHY “judgment” is more correct than “judgement”?  It looks SO WRONG.

Still trying to do too much

I signed up for another thing.  I couldn’t help myself.  I joined the Legislative Task Force committee within our chapter of NOW.  I am going to try to keep my participation to a minimum, though.  Really.  I mean it.

And now, after talking my head off at that meeting, I have no more words.  I’m going to devote my brainpower to my book.  Book club is next Tuesday, so I need to get cracking.

It’s a little weird to talk about books in a grocery store

I told you about reading that book club book in a handful of hours so I could be ready to talk about it with a room full of strangers I only found out existed the day before, but then I didn’t actually tell you about that room full of strangers who possibly only began to exist when I walked in the door.  (Who’s to say?)

They meet in a meeting room on the upper floor of a fancy grocery store, and when I walked in there were about a dozen women of various ages (mostly old-ish) sitting around a big table in the middle of the room.  There were a couple other people at other tables, but I figured I’d found my group.  Plus there were a bunch of books on the table.  So, being my father’s daughter, I walked over and said, “Judging by the pile of books, am I right in assuming this is the book club?”  They didn’t kick me out.  Can’t trust their judgment.

This is a group of Very Serious Readers.  Most enjoyed the book, thought it was a nice book to read over the holidays, but they also almost unanimously dismissed it in some way as a pile of fluff.  They read Literary Fiction for Very Serious Readers, or so it seems.  Or maybe it’s mostly Depressing Fiction for Very Serious Readers.  (I think it’s fair to say that those two categories overlap.)

Maybe I’m wrong (I’m probably wrong).  Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions (I’m definitely jumping to conclusions).  They were all very nice, certainly.  Maybe three of them were younger than me, but over 30.  And in great contrast to my last book club, they’re not one big group of friends.  There are probably a couple of pairs of friends, but the rest appear to be strangers who found each other online with the express purpose of starting a book club.  They (we) met in a public place, talked about the book, decided on the next month’s book, and got out, all in about an hour.  (It was great.)  No stress about house-cleaning, or buying enough wine for 15, or planning food because they’re all coming to your house to judge YOUR BOOK which most of them DIDN’T READ, no, I’m not still defensive about the one time I hosted book club, why do you ask?

I did it!

I finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry this morning, and I am ready to go to my new book club tomorrow evening.  It was a nice book, sweet, about nice people and a bookshop.  What’s not to like?  After I finished that, I finished Abaddon’s Gate (the book I kept putting aside, through no fault of its own – it was very good), and then I started Court of Fives.  I did all of that before noon today (while hanging out at a coffee shop I can walk to from the house), and then I went to the grocery store, read a bit more at home, ran outside for the first time in 5 weeks, and now I’m making a sweet potato pie to take to Wendy (riding instructor) like I promised I would back at the holiday party.

It has been a very productive day off.

Read like the wind

I saw a flyer today for a book club called Eugene Book Talk that meets once a month.  The flyer was old (the books were for October and November), but I’ve read one of them (The Snow Child) and liked it, so that’s a good sign.  On impulse, I emailed them right then and there, and the person running the account (no name except for the name of the book club) responded right away. S/He said they’re still active, and since they couldn’t meet in December, they’re meeting this Tuesday to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

I looked it up, downloaded the sample, enjoyed the first couple of pages, and now I have a mission.  I put aside the book I’m in the middle of (again – I put it aside for Temeraire book 8 when the library e-book became available), and now I have 49.5 hours (from right now) to read the whole thing.

It’s a good thing I don’t have to work tomorrow.  If it’s interesting enough, I think I’ll make it.  THEN we’ll see how I feel about joining a book club again.