Next week, I'm going to a meeting of a fledgling book club. It's right in my building, so it combines my two great loves: reading and being lazy.
My husband asked me what you do at a book club. Damned if I know. Presumably you discuss books, right? I told him that, and he commented that it kind of sounded like school. True. But I liked school. Well, not med school. But other kinds of school.
At the first meeting, we're going to be deciding on what book to discuss at our second meeting. I asked what book we were going to be reading and the leader of the group said she was thinking about a book called Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
Little Bee. That sounded interesting! Sounded like it might be funny, possibly about bees, maybe bees doing something funny.
I looked it up on Amazon and started reading the description: "Little Bee braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple..."
And that's all I got through before I zoned out.
Maybe this Little Bee book is great. Maybe I'll love it. I'm sure I'm unfairly judging it. After all, it's on the NYT Bestseller List, so presumably there are a lot of people at least purchasing it. But what I really want to do is read a book that I'll lose myself in. That I'll be turning the pages in desperation to get to the end. I'm too old to be reading fiction I don't really enjoy And I just don't see myself really enjoying Little Bee.
(My suggestion for the book club was Water For Elephants, which didn't sound that much more appealing to me, but I've heard good things about it and it got more stars on Amazon.)
I guess my whine is this: why does book club reading have to be so damn pretentious? Why does it always have to involve some Nigerian orphan? Right now I'm reading Watermelon by Marian Keyes, about a woman whose husband dumps her a day after she gives birth... I don't see that being on any book club lists, but it's sure fun to read. The best I can come up with is that maybe there isn't enough to discuss about Watermelon. Maybe a book has to be really deep in order to spend a whole hour talking about it while drinking wine and eating cheese.
But I'm trying to keep an open mind. After all, some of my favorite books of all time were ones assigned to me by teachers in order to enrich my little mind (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Jane Eyre). But a few of them I really hated and thought were pointless (Frankenstein, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). And some made no impression on me whatsoever (????). Maybe I'll end up loving Little Bee.
Probably not though.