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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Readership, frandship etc.

My colleague E mentioned that she goes to a book club every now and then. Interest piqued I asked her what sort of books they read. "Oh all sorts!" she replied and said she'd elected an author so everyone could pick a different book to read and they'd have more to discuss that way. They really do read all kinds of books. I asked if they'd done any Young Adult fiction and came away with another set of books to add to my list (Mortal Engines ... what sample bits I read, I really liked).

I was fascinated. I've always wondered what happens in a book club and never quite fathomed the idea of an exclusive get-together to talk about books. Unlike watching telly, or a movie, sports, listening to music or even plain old-fashioned conversation which lend themselves to being group activities and therefore provide fodder for conversation as a continued group activity, talking about books seems just incongruous with the act of reading, which is such a solitary activity.

I mean, what do you say to each other?! 'Yes we've read the same book. Oh yeah I loved it! ... uhmm ... ahhh ...' *awkward silence* comes to mind when I try to think of the times I've tried to use books as conversational topics, or overheard someone trying to. Not counting the time someone said they loved reading and I asked what they read and they said Dan Brown/Sidney Sheldon which got me into a right squawk and there was no conversation because I was pretty much left spluttering my scorn. Yes I'm a snob, thanks for noticing.

Also, there isn't always common ground to cover. Music being the exception, there is limited scope for the kind of things one might watch/involve in when it comes to common interest topics such as telly or sports or movies.

Mainly, the problem seems to be finding someone who has actually read the same sort of stuff that you have and then has something more to say beyond it. In my case, that would be anyone who reads Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde and Regency novels.

So maybe I ought to join a book club. I'm not sure I want to though. It's the sort of people related commitment that I'm not sure I want to make. It's one thing to incidentally meet people and it's another to actively seek them out. I haven't a problem making friends, but I just don't want to. Even though I've had to say buh-bye to a number of friends who've upped and left the country (say what you will about IM and social networking but it just doesn't work for some relationships).

Probably just as well I suppose. New friends would mean new people who would have to be told no they cannot borrow my books. Blanket rule, exceptions to which happen to live in other countries.

Maybe I should start being a regular at Speaker's Corner ... I could have my say without any frandship strings attached.

1 comment:

  1. join join! you can always walk out if it doesn't suit you.
    i'm commitment phobic too when it comes to "groups" of any sort.
    i HATE groups.
    i'm NOT a herd animal has been my excuse forever.

    but i'd totally join a bollywood club.