I Have a Major Problem with Book Clubs

As you can probably tell by this blog, my aspiration to be a novelist, and even my wardrobe, I love books. I love diving into stories and being surprised by characters.

Fantasy, romance, and historical fiction are my favorite genres (well, and also clever picture books), but I also dabble in science fiction and contemporaries. Mysteries always stump me, so I generally avoid them because I like feeling intelligent. Psychological thrillers/suspense can completely freak me out (looking at you, Gone Girl), so I tend to avoid those as well. Non-fiction had better read as well as fiction or I’ll abandon it after the first three chapters.

I want to read books that make me feel happy. I don’t mind using my brain, but I don’t want to have to work too hard. I read for the love of story and adventure and, of course, a sprinkling of romance.

See? Even my clothing supports my bookish choices.

However, it’s taken three different book clubs (two of which I helped start!) for me to realize…

I’m a terrible book clubber.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to love book clubs. I picture myself sitting with warm beverages and warmer discussions, everyone debating the highs and lows of wonderful stories. I love other book people too. There’s kind of an underlying camaraderie amongst bookish people. I also love eating the junk food that accompanies these kinds of get-togethers.

However.

I struuuuuggle to read books when I’m supposed to read them.

Can I get an amen? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Regardless, even if it’s a book I’ve been anticipating, the moment it’s assigned as “February’s book club pick!” I want to avoid it like the plague.

Additionally, my TBR (to-be read) pile is always towering. And the library due dates are closing in on books I actually want to read. It’s a sacrifice, I tell ya!

Do you think this is throwback guilt from childhood book-report days? It feels exactly the same. Well, not even childhood. I was an English major, for pity’s sake! I spent four years with this black cloud of literary responsibility hanging over my head. This year is my 10th college reunion, so has enough time passed for me to admit I rarely…if ever…finished one of those hefty, assigned novels? I still feel bad about that. But I got the degree, so I suppose it’s time to let it go.

Anyway, even though I struggle to read book-club books, I can’t seem to resist the siren call. Therefore, I’ve now joined yet another book club. I think my husband has just taken to grinning and bearing it as a I whine about “having” to read a certain book.

John Steinbeck’s author photo. I can only hope to look this cool someday. Well, sans mustache, receding hairline, and cigarette…

This one is different, though! My son’s school has an amazing community of families. Since we’re new, I want to get involved. The moms get together once a month to discuss “great literature,” which (unfortunately) means a classic taken from the school’s reading list and not a NYT bestseller from this decade. So, I’m hip-deep in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, a book I never read in high school/college, and, frankly, never planned to ever ever ever read.

But I’m excited to meet some fellow school moms. And I only have to read the first 15 chapters before Monday night. I’m on chapter eight…

…and writing a blog post instead of reading.

Yes, it seems to be going well. Sigh.

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Currently Reading
As previously mentioned, I’m attempting to tear through Steinbeck’s East of Eden so I can move onto other, lighter options. I’m also listening to Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. She also wrote The Night Circus, which I adored (audiobook read by the incomparable Jim Dale!). This one, though…meh. I don’t know how you create characters the reader absolutely loves and cares about, but it hasn’t happened for me in this very lengthy romp. The audiobook narrators, though (there are numerous), and some of those voices are like hooooney.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth Putnam says:

    I first read East of Eden many, many years ago, and have often cited it among my favorites. As I reread it recently, however, I couldn’t capture the same passion. Yes, I still like the parallels to Genesis, but I had to make myself finish it and found it ultimately depressing. As a reader, my tastes are eclectic, and I can’t tolerate anything formulaic. I couldn’t agree more about non-fiction. I can’t join book clubs because I’m such a slow reader! I applaud that you manage to find time to read with your busy schedule. I continue to love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seemamaread says:

      Two things. One, I’m curious how certain books/authors earn the label of “classic” and are added to academic reading list. Two, it’s amazing how books impact people differently. What’s a life-changing read for me may be despised by someone else. This makes it difficult to choose “good” books for readers, I think, but it’s encouraging as someone attempting to write a novel! 😊

      Like

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