29 September, 2006

Book Club Quandry

So as you may or may not recall, I partake in a monthly book club w/ my MOM’s Club group, which let me just say right now, I enjoy very much. However, that being said, am I the only one on the planet who can pick a decent book? It’s like each host is in a top secret competition to see who can pick the longest, most boring, “best selling” book. And you want to know what the prize ends up being? NO ONE WANTS TO SHOW UP FOR THAT BOOK CLUB BECAUSE NO ONE READ THE LOUSY BOOK. I mean come ON, do you really think I am not only NOT going to want to read Middlesex, but ENJOY it at that? Which FYI, no one enjoyed that book, not even the host who picked it, and ¾ of the people didn’t even finish it so we ended up talking about our first menstrual cycles and embarrassing puberty moments. Actually I sort of sat there blushing on the sofa as I tend to be somewhat of a prude, but everyone else sure was happy sharing the gory details.

And that leads me to The Red Tent. Okay, SERIOUSLY. The entire book was about women menstruating in biblical days. There was nothing enjoyable what-so-ever about that book for me. I suffered through the entire book along with the characters, just WAITING for it to pick up somewhere, but alas, found myself at the end of the book saying “That’s it?” Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to come off shallow here, as I really am an intelligent person, and I really do like being challenged in my thinking when I read books. I do enjoy reading books out of my laugh-out-loud pretend the world is a perfectly cheery place type of humorous books. But can we stop with the boring book competition? Stay at home Mom’s are dropping like flies from book club!

Last month we reviewed Daniel Isn’t Talking by Marti Leimbach and it was ok. The main character really had a creep for a husband which is unfortunate since she pretty much had her hands full with two young children, one of them being autistic (who wasn’t diagnosed as such until he was something like 3).

Anyhoo, this month we are onto the ever *exciting* The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards which so far is as predictable as the last book. And from the looks of it, next months selection, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult seems to be nearly interchangeable as well with these other two books. I mean seriously. Why can’t someone pick a classic like Catcher in the Rye or The Great Gatsby to revisit in book club. Am I the only one who is noticing less and less people coming to book club? I know I’ve speculated about my superhuman powers before, but just as being invisible isn’t one of my special powers, neither is it anyone else’s in book club (at least I feel pretty sure about that anyway).

Okay okay. So all this has nothing to do with great finds or fun projects or anything even REMOTELY Martha related. So, please excuse the rant today. But it’s Friday so I’m letting my creative juices pool a little today so I can give you guys some great projects and ideas next week and this means I plan on doing a lot of reading today. This weekend I’m going to be in full-fledged Fall decorating mode so I will have lots to share next week. So fasten your seat belts and get ready for the ride next week!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got my own seatbelt to buckle to drop mini monogram #1 off at pre-school and take mini #2 to have some fun and jump on the trampolines for play time at the gymnastics place, then go pick up a few new books to liven up my nightstand selection. See you next week for lots of Fall fun!

16 Comments:

Tanya said...

WOW - this post really hit home with me. We just started a book club with my group of moms. My very first suggestion was "To Kill a Mockingbird" but no one wanted to do that one so we did "The Time Traveller's Wife". I hated the book. Too sci-fi for me. I ended up skimming the last 1/2 just so I would sound like I read it at the meeting. This month we read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". Much more enjyoable -I highly recommend it. It sounds like our book clubs are similar - I guess it's hard to come to a concensus with so many different readers.

Tanya said...

WOW - this post really hit home with me. We just started a book club with my group of moms. My very first suggestion was "To Kill a Mockingbird" but no one wanted to do that one so we did "The Time Traveller's Wife". I hated the book. Too sci-fi for me. I ended up skimming the last 1/2 just so I would sound like I read it at the meeting. This month we read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". Much more enjyoable -I highly recommend it. It sounds like our book clubs are similar - I guess it's hard to come to a concensus with so many different readers.

Amy G. said...

I can completely relate, MM. I'm president of our local Mothers' Club and I don't participate in the book group for this exact same reason! 90% of what they choose is "bestseller" garbage or worse, from Oprah's copious lists when she was hawking a book every other week. I found most of the selections to have a third-grade reading level at best, implausibly quirky characters that defy discussion, and worst, the book group's discussions veered away from the book in the first 5 minutes--making my effort at reading it worthless!

So we had this discussion in the neighborhood book club and decided we'd read the classics instead. It has been delightful to re-read the Brontes, Thackeray, Austen, and even King Lear one month. We've had great discussions on real topics and everyone actually reads the books! I hope your group improves, or at least picks some more challenging reads!

PreppyInVT said...

MM-
I haven't read any of the books that you're discussing but I did read My Sister's Keeper and it went on my all-time favorite list. Jodi Piccoult is a fantastic author and I think you might really enjoy this one, especially as a mother. It's heartwrenching.

I'll be curious to hear what you think about it!

-PinVT

suburban prep said...

Knitting Under the Influence is a pretty good book. Ok it is light and not serious but those "good" books get a bit stale>

Erin said...

Amen! I'm always trying to get my book club to read the classics, but inevitably we end up reading the same books you mentioned. Ugh.

jilly said...

My sister and I both read "My Sister's Keeper" and I passed it along to a friend as well. We all really enjoyed it. You might be surprised, pretty good book actually. I agree with you on Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby though. My book club that I belonged to out East which I LOVED read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" which I loved as well. I joined a book club here, but so far, blah blah blah.

Monogram Momma said...

THANK YOU. Can I tell you how relieved to know that everyone elses book club stinks too? The way ours is set up is that there is a hosting chart and when it's your month to host, you pick the book and host it at your house and lead the discussion.
I did just come from the library as they were holding "My Sisters Keeper" for me so I have that in hand and will read it and report back since so many of you suggest it.

Let me take this minute to recommend "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls. It's a trul life recount of her life but it is so unbelievable that all this stuff could happen to her and that she lived the way she did that honeslty I had to keep reminding myself it was real! It's a great book club read.

Tanya: we also read "Snow Flower..." and for the LIFE of me I could not get into that book. But I did hear it really picked up and was good.

P.S. Maybe we need to start a virtual book club. Where we alternate between reading a classic and then a snarky sarcastic funny book. HA! That would certanly give us much to gab about!

Jo said...

I am in a book club, too. We read my Sister's Keeper and I really enjoyed it. We are also reading The Glass Castle this month. Sometimes I don't read the book if I don't love it- there are way too many other choices out there. I just finished reading THe Overachievers- The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins-- I thought that was very good. She reports on lives of overachieving high school students and the pressure they feel to get into an Ivy College- it was really interesting.

Anonymous said...

yes, please read before you judge. my sister's keeper was excellent. and the memory keeper's daughter was wonderful too. it might be predictable but it's still a heartfelt, kind of sad, story. definitely finish it. the glass castle was excellent! i'm in love with augusten burroughs...he wrote running with scissors, magical thinking, dry, possible side effects...all wonderful!

i wish we could do some sort of favorite books post so we could all have good ideas for great books!

love your site.

Anonymous said...

I am in love with Jodi P. I hope you enjoy My Sister's Keeper because it's fantastic.
I suggest, when the books start getting stale, look at the book lists that entering freshmen are required to read for uni. They are usually picked because they get the students into interesting discussions.

Susan said...

I am sure this puts me in the shallow column, but somewhere out there is a book club for those of us who love classics and fluffy romance novels! In my book club, about 80% is socializing and 20% book discussions, which is a good thing since I rarely make it through the chosen tome.

spymum said...

Oooh a virtual book club! Great idea!

jilly said...

I would love a vitual book club! I belong to one through the Hennipen County Library system, but I don't always enjoy the books they read and the discussions can be a little dry! I think an online book club would be great though!

Clotheswhorese said...

I'm in a bookclub, too, and sometimes the picks are a real yeawn. But give My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Picoult) a fair shake. I thought it was a great book, very moving.

Linger Longer said...

hey MM. LL here. This is precisely why my book club of 10 years quit choosing a book, we all just read, and get together for pizza and beer once a month. Sounds real literary huh. But I did want to mention that I love Piccoult's "My Sister's Keeper"; my book club cohorts think her endings are all a bit too tidy, but it is one of three books that made me cry. the others being "A Lesson Before Dying" and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"- what a masterpiece. Anyway, I really wish I could read more, but honestly, When??? I miss it. It is now a guilty pleasure, and sleep usually wins out.