The Bad IdeaPosted: March 3, 2008 Filed under: War and Peace 4 Comments
(I certainly hope I don’t offend anyone with this post. Especially not anyone I actually like.)
I may have mentioned before that I volunteered to be in charge of my ward’s monthly book club. There were some problems before with organizing it and I agreed to take over, make sure things got back on track. I have never in my life even participated in a book club, much less been in charge of one, so I was unsure what to expect.
Unfortunately, it appears from my first experience that book clubs are simply Not My Thing.
It was nice to have five or six people come, especially since that was a full half of the people who signed up; I expected only three or four. Bad Thing #1 was that everyone came having just eaten dinner, so snacks were left untouched. (Wait, who am I kidding? It’s a bad thing that I had an entire box of ice cream, whole jars of hot fudge, chips & salsa, and a homemade veggie tray? No, it wasn’t bad, it was lunch the next day.) Bad Thing #2 was more of a personal issue than anything else — the first three women who came were all pregnant and naturally had a conversation amongst themselves about their pregnancies, a touchy subject for me at the moment. Bad Thing #3, though, actually pertained to the book club itself. We were meeting to decide on a book to read for March, and I had made up a list of suggestions, since it was at my apartment and I was The Boss. Or so I thought.
Actually, my willingness to accept help and direction on how to run a book club was interpreted as “Please, take charge of the conversation and book list” by a well-meaning lady, who had been the previous Boss. I felt a bit like I was forced into a position where I couldn’t disagree or voice my opinion. Ah, well, I probably just interpreted her actions that way, and I could have been all wrong. The reason it became Bad Thing #3 was that the situation seemed removed from my control, and picking a book was no longer my responsibility.
Bad Thing #4 caught me off guard. Because everyone was almost cautiously repeating book titles, vaguely saying they would or wouldn’t like to read such-and-such book, I asked if there was a consensus on one of the titles — The Kite Runner. Subtle nods became more sure as everyone glanced at their neighbors. Then it happened. The same well-meaning lady let me know that in the old book club, whoever picked the book was in charge of leading the discussion and providing ample background information on the author and book next time we meet; and, of course, I had just picked the book.
Well, alright, none of this is really all that bad. I just have a feeling that what I wanted out of a book club was someone telling me what to read. Getting together to talk about the book I couldn’t care less about. That’s what I go to class for. Regardless, I now have another book to read (whether or not I picked it myself), and a discussion to prepare.
If nothing else, my apartment will still be clean for a few more days before it degenerates back into its usual mess!
Sounds like a normal book group! Let me know how you liked the Kite Runner! =)
How our ward does it (I can’t remember if I’ve told you this before) is one meeting when we plan for a couple months (up to a year) of books, and people suggest books they’ve already read (that way, you know if it might have stuff that might not be ….exactly appropriate…. for a relief society book group). And yes, the person that suggests the book is then in charge of the discussion. We rotate around who’s hostessing, too so that the discussion leader doesn’t also have to clean her house all day!
I haven’t read the book, but really liked the movie–even though it was painful to watch. The movie, of course, was very controversial. It will be “interesting” to see how the group likes/doesn’t like Kite Runner. There’s been a healthy para-RS book club around here for years, but it’s never been my cup of hot choc.
I thought it was great when everybody started talking about what they think about sex and violence in books. I bet that was really comfortable for the lady that brought her 9 year old daughter.
first of all, that’s what i don’t like about pregnant ladies and mothers. DID THAT LOOK LIKE A MOTHER’S CLUB TO THEM? all they talk about all day is babies and children, which would be appropriate if anyone asked or they were at some kind of meeting for that condition. i don’t care that it’s a trauma to the body, or a life changing blah de blah blah. there’s a time and a place for everything. a few comments are ok. whatever. but seriously, those ladies (as nice as they might have been) were rude to hijack even a portion of the meeting to talk about their fat bodies.
second, i think being in groups and having positions of responsibility are wonderful but you kind of sound put out. you had to clean your house and get all this food and put on nice clothes and best face and be nice for a few hours. that’s a lot of work. i think that just because of that you get to choose the book.
lastly, you HAVE to tell me what they think about that book. at some parts the protagonist really pissed me off and i hate when books do that to me. in my mind, that’s the antagonist’s job and when it’s not that way i feel upset. anyway, let me know what you think to. i’m curious.
next time you should insist they choose something grossly inappropriate and tell me what happens :) just kidding, well not really… okay i’ll be constructive now: maybe since you know a ton of book titles you could make a huge list, invite people to add to it, and at the next meeting everyone could anonymously write on slips of paper what they want to read. then you could tally it up and there won’t be that discomfort in suggesting titles. i’m really chatty tonight so i guess i’ll wrap it up now. i hope you’re doing okay and having a good week so far!