Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Clubzilla?

You guys catch the story in the New York Times about book clubs? I'm a little appalled by, well, everything in it. Some choice passages ...

From a woman who was too good for Oprah books and "pop-lit":
“It was bad enough that they wanted to read ‘Da Vinci Code’ in the first place,” Ms. Bowie said, “but then they wanted to talk about it.”
Okay, I admit it: I liked "The Da Vinci Code." I got it before it became a sensation after hearing the author on "The Diane Rehm Show." But I'd like to think I wouldn't force the club to read it ...

The thesis of the article:
Yes, it’s a nice, high-minded idea to join a book group, a way to make friends and read books that might otherwise sit untouched. But what happens when you wind up hating all the literary selections — or the other members?
Oh, jeez. That's when you leave the club! If it hasn't been clear before, I'll state it again: Lazy Book Club is meant to be pressure-free. That includes a no-worries opt-out clause: If you don't want to get the invites anymore, just say the word, no offense taken.

Then there is the article's description of Esther Bushell, "a professional book-group facilitator who leads a dozen suburban New York groups and charges $250 to $300 a member annually for her services. ... Like other facilitators, she is hired for the express purpose of bringing long-winded types in line." Holy crap!

On a book group called the IlluminaTea:
“When it was your month to host a meeting, you would do your interpretation of a tea, and the teas got very competitive,” Ms. Farewell said. Homemade scones and Devonshire cream were par for the course, and Ms. Farewell recalls spending the day before her hostess stint making watercress and smoked salmon sandwiches.
Actually, I was thinking of making the next meeting a competition for best smoke salmon sandwich.

If our group ever becomes anything like the ones in this story, y'all have my permission to do an intervention.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hot Chocolatella!

So our December meeting was book-free but by no means fun-free. Vibha, Jenny, Kendra and I dropped off donations at Books for America and then headed to Crepes-a-Go-Go down the street. Despite all the seemingly draconian restrictions on the Books for America Web site, dropping off all our books, CDs and DVDs was easy-peasy. I expected a thorough inspection for dog-eared covers and yellowed pages. Instead the guy just was like, Dump 'em in this bin, thanks! (Special props to Doris for donating in absentia.)

Then it was off to the creperie and, more important, four yummy cups of ... wait for it ... Nutella hot chocolate. How is this not the next big thing? It inspired my idea for an all-Nutella shop: shakes, cookies, cakes, candy -- someone needs to put this in action and then pay me for thinking of it. (By the way, I didn't intend for that Nutella picture to be so huge. But now that it's there, I kind of love it.)

Anyway, thanks for a fun meeting, gals! If we can keep the book club going for another year, I think I might copy this end-of-year strategy: No book for December, but assign a book in early November for the January meeting, so we have plenty of time to read over the crazy holidays. Let me know your thoughts on this -- open to any and all ideas!

Hope folks can make it next month to discuss "Dreams From My Father." I just started and am really enjoying it. Dude can write.