January 12, 2014

Getting on same page about book club night

Gentlemen, have you ever wondered what goes on at that book club your wife is always going to? 

In my circle of friends, it seems as if every woman belongs to one book club or another. Ostensibly, these groups select one book of deep cultural significance for everyone to read, and then assemble to discuss the “Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” (which was actually only so-so).

Seems harmless, even laudable, on the surface, but many of you are curious. When did your wife find the time to actually read all those books? Didn’t she graduate school so that she no longer had to discuss the reading assignments?

More importantly, why is it there don’t seem to be any men in the book club? Why weren’t you invited to join? You know how to read too, pretty much. You have opinions.

I’ve been as much a victim of book club discrimination as anyone. My wife has a regular book club, which I’ve never been asked to join, despite the fact that I occasionally write things myself and am an avid reader, most recently — I think it was September — having devoured “Vegas Vinnie’s Texas Hold’em Tips, Tricks and Traps.”

Come book club night, however, I’m left to care for the kids, or, when the club meets at our house, to find someplace — anyplace, as long as it’s not home — to bring myself and the children so we don’t embarrass her.

On occasion, I have snuck home early, or feigned bed-rest for a serious illness, so that I could look and listen in. Thus, I can answer a few of your questions.

Yes, the book is discussed. By law, for the club to receive certification from the national Book Club Alliance of America, the book must be talked about at some point. So, usually for about five minutes or so, the women — most of whom have not actually read the book, but may have read the synopsis on the jacket — do discuss the assigned tome.

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