I have a confession to make. I don't like book clubs. The thought of sitting around discussing Austen, Bronte, Hardy or any number of old, new or up- and -coming authors and their literary creations does not inspire me. I think there are a number of reasons.
I am a private reader. I become very involved, some might say deeply immersed (drowned?) in the books I choose to read. If I let them, they are apt to take control of my life. If a particular book grabs me, I will choose to read it rather than clean my house, make dinner, meet friends. On more than one occasion I have been known to forget to fetch my children from school. All for the sake of solving the mystery, understanding a character, fathoming the motivation behind the crime.
I love reading. I adore books, and I have a select group of favourite authors, but I also love to discover new titles, new writers, new characters. I am a sucker to the marketing guys too, the ones who choose the title, who select the final cover, who decide on the text, the font, the number of chapters. And the smell of new books? Mmmmm. Better than fresh- baked bread, or a just opened bag of coffee beans . It all works for me. I am hooked on book stores.
But, as I say, I am a private reader. If someone else says "Oh, didn't you love that book by ..." It loses some of it's virginal appeal. I find it a struggle to get into a book recommended by someone else (... especially if that someone is Oprah). Is it a form of snobbery? Maybe. I fancy that I am the one who really knows. I am the one who should be directing and endorsing. I am happy to say enthusiastically to others "You MUST read this!" But I don't want to be the one to be informed of a books worth.
Perhaps most importantly, when I am reading about a fictitious someone, I claim ownership. Their story was written just for me, not for anyone else. No one else understands. No one else can empathize, sympathize, cry, laugh, mourn, celebrate, rejoice feel for the fictional characters the way I can. It would be an abuse of privacy to let others into my thoughts and feelings, to ask me to discuss my opinions, while I am intrinsically woven into the story. I would feel violated. And it would be abhorrent to me if anyone shared those sentiments. They would lose their originality; become worthless.
I have a dislike, a wary mistrust, of book clubs. All those people gathered together reading about MY beloved characters. What do they know? I selfishly guard my thoughts and feelings. I don't want to share my views.
So, SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY, PLEASE ...
- I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.