One of the main reasons I have avoided bookclubs in the past is that I live in fear of choosing a book to make other people read.
Which means that, for me, step #1 for selecting a bookclub book is STRESS LIKE MAD. Preferably for weeks.
Currently, I belong to two bookclubs. For one of them, I chose Wait Til Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I’d read it in 2006 for my sports history class at BYU (a much more difficult class than you might guess) and had really enjoyed it.
Frankly, that bookclub was easier to select a book for – it’s a fairly serious book group, with a lot of discussion and there is no hesitancy to pick substantial books. And everyone reads them. Last night, we met and discussed The Warmth of Other Suns, which, clocking in at 640 pages of non-fiction, is not something you breeze through the afternoon of bookclub. All eleven women had read it carefully, and we discussed it for nearly three hours.
So, you know, for that bookclub, it’s easier to pick a book.
The other bookclub, though . . .whew. I have debated for months what book to choose.
First off, we have a big span of what people like. Some members of the group want fluff reading (and, if you know me, you know I am not opposed to fluff reading), while other members are pretty openly critical of anything fluffy we read. So that makes it difficult to pick something that will keep everyone happy.
And if people aren’t interested in the book that’s chosen, they simply don’t read it. When someone chose My Antonia a few months ago, I was the only person who read it. The. Only. One. (Even the person who picked it didn’t reread it).
Also, many of the people in that group have a Kindle, so picking something that doesn’t have a Kindle edition means you’re going to lose a lot of the group right there (which disqualified one of my early possibilities of Cheaper by the Dozen).
I contemplated choosing The Wednesday Wars but I am so deeply attached to that book that I truly didn’t think I could stand it if half the group didn’t read it and the other half thought it was dumb. I just. . . couldn’t.
So, finally, after way too much deliberation, I picked The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s fiction, it’s an easy read (even more necessary since it’s summer), and I love it, but if people don’t like it, I can deal (do I sound like a delicate emotional flower or what?).
I enjoy both groups for different reasons, but whoa boy, picking a book for this second group took at least 3 months off my life.
Am I the only one with the kind of mental instability over bookclub books? (Also, did this give you zero help in choosing a book for your own bookclub, or what? I am nothing if not unhelpful).