Women talking at a book clubEarlier this week, I mentioned that I was contemplating going to my first-ever book club. Reader, I attended it! I was actually feeling kind of 50/50 about going, thanks to the pouring rain and the May Day mayhem, but whenever I have to force myself up and out of the house to go somewhere, I’m almost always glad I did.

Sadly, since this wasn’t a group of friends meeting at someone’s home, there was a lot less wine and chips ‘n’ dip than I would have liked, but you can’t have everything. The group was small — only about 5 people, or 6 if you count the random nutball who walked up, slapped a Bible down on our table, and started ranting about knighthood and Jewish conspiracies until he got kicked out. (At least he was enthusiastic about participating in the discussion, I guess.)

We all seemed kind of lukewarm about the book — A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court — so I’m wondering who originally chose it and why; I’m guessing they weren’t there that night. To me, the satire felt pretty broad and heavy-handed, with a lot of on-the-nose lecturing about how “a man isn’t a man unless he stands up for himself and fights authority” mixed in with a truly shocking quantity of heavy explosives. Have you guys read that book? It gets DARK at the end, somewhere around the part where the main character sets up a triple perimeter of electric fence and a battery of machine guns to mow down thousands of knights. I wish I were kidding.

So, definitely not a book I would have picked for myself, which also applies to next month’s selection: My Life, by Chekhov. But maybe it’s good to have other people choosing books for you, to shake you up and get you reading something different? And I’m pretty shamefully lacking when it comes to Russian literature, I have to admit. Tell you what: if you suggest a book to me, I’ll read it. Or try to, anyway. And if you make guacamole, I’ll come over to your house and discuss it with you afterwards.

Stephanie Perry
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