So I joined a book club about six months ago. Out of work & needing to get out of the house more often, I thought book club would be a nice way to keep my brains from turning to complete mush. I mean, I have an M.A. in British Lit, I like sitting around and talking about literature, so yeah, it was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time. As you can probably guess, book club is comprised of all women members, and NO, I have no idea whether any of them are into kink like I am or not (I don’t know any of them outside of our monthly book club meetings, and one doesn’t ask a stranger, “So, are you into S & M?” while sitting on folding chairs in a book shop).
Anyway, the books are, well, I wouldn’t choose them myself. So far we’ve read:
Where Did You Go, Bernadette?
The Valley of Amazement
You were Meant for Me
(We took December off)
Me Before You
And for next month’s meeting, we have to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I have not started yet and don’t know what it’s about. But if it’s like the other books, it falls into the category of what I call chick lit, meaning it’s likely an easy read, won’t make me think too much, will have broadly drawn characters, and a predictable ending. Left to choose my own reading material, I gravitate toward Stephen King (it’s dark, I know, but goddamn the man can write) or Hemingway (actually wrote a scholarly paper on Hemingway’s short stories, in grad school, that was published), or Dorothy Parker (the Harlem Renaissance, oh yeah), and I absolutely love Christopher Marlowe (he would’ve been the big deal Shakespeare is if he hadn’t been knifed to death in a bar fight). And of course, being into kink, I’ve read The Story of O, and Lolita (every Little, Middle/Lolita, and/or Daddy Dom/caregiver should read Lolita) and yes, Lolita isn’t exactly a fairy tale, but it’s one of the top five novels of all time, so it’s worth reading. I’ve also read Lady Chatterly’s Lover, but I wouldn’t call that a BDSM book, parts of it are erotic, yeah, and it was considered a “dirty book” to have been on a reading list for a class at the Catholic college where I did my undergrad.
The problem isn’t the books…I mean, I joined book club knowing I wouldn’t get to choose the books, knowing I couldn’t ram my taste in literature down everyone else’s throat. So I read the books chosen. Then I show up to book club actually ready to discuss what I’ve read, only to find that I’m one of two people, or worse yet, THE ONLY ONE, who actually read the book. And so I say something like, “Well it’s interesting that the main character loves to point out her sister’s one life mistake, that of getting pregnant, because the rest of the family thinks the sister is so smart, but the sister never hammers the main character for having gotten drunk with the guys who hang out at the Red Lion and letting herself get raped (and the main character feels that in some way it IS her fault for getting drunk that she got raped)” and so the sister is in a way the better human being.” And then one of the other woman, who didn’t read the book, will say, “Really, the main character got drunk and got raped, that happened in the book?” all astonished like I said little green men from Mars landed on Earth & all they wanted was to go shopping at Lord & Taylor.
Yup, I joined book club to keep my brains from turning to mush & instead it’s giving me agita.