I missed going to my book club last night. My sight is still a bit wobbly after the tadpoles in the sky incident, so I felt driving home from the town in the dark would be too risky. The group are all previous work colleagues, some now in early retirement and others are still 'in the thick of it' career women. It’s usually a great meeting. All of us are a bit spiky and bitchy but supportive of each other in our own way. They are sharp, funny and argumentative by turns, all willing to disagree, dish the dirt and listen to each other, offence seldom taken and usually never meant. We even get round to discussing the book occasionally.
This lively forum has ruined me for any other book group I’ve ever thought of joining. I was invited to one but turned it down when I realised the wife of a former boss would also be a member. I’ve nothing against the woman, but knew that I couldn’t trust myself to be civil about him, so thought it best to stay away.
Meeting up with my old group means a longish drive into town so, as part of my, ‘getting to know people in the village’ campaign, I a responded to an advert in the village bookshop. It said, ‘New members wanted for established reading group’ . Promising a warm welcome with stimulating discussion it seemed just the job and a way to get to know some like minded people.
Their daunting booklist for the past seven years arrived along with the title of the tome of the month and the address of the next venue. Until I get to know people I tend to be a bit quiet, so the first couple of sessions went quite well, but on the third occasion I found the book really not to my taste. Anxious not to offend people I hardly knew, when it came to my turn I diplomatically offered that I thought the book was, ‘sweetly pretty, but lacked any substance’. I smiled brightly then, to my embarrassment, noticed the woman who’d chosen the book looked distinctly upset. She bravely blew her nose and said that she couldn’t believe I could be so unkind about her favourite book, a book she had loved since girlhood. A horrible silence followed, only broken when our host quickly suggested we all had some tea. I drank mine feeling it might be poisoned.
After that I decided perhaps that book group was too well established and far too polite for me. Any one out there wishing to form a reading group? I promise I won’t make any hasty or critical comments, at least not for the first couple of weeks.