A few years ago I started a book club. Brought in a librarian to talk us through the ins and outs, and she left us with a stack of recommended reading. All of us are type A and love to follow rules, so we diligently worked our way through four of them. At which point one person threatened to quit if we read one more depressing book. We discovered that quite often, for a book to be considered 'discussion worthy', it turns out to be overwhelmingly depressing. And our aversion to Opray picks and Pulitzer Prize winners is very strong. So we promptly threw out her list, and embarked upon finding the titles by ourselves....well, by myself, because I come up with the choices 90% of the time.
After our less than ideal start, the responsibility of choosing an entertaining yet meaty book really weighed on me. I can't tell you how much time I waste at work the day before we meet, searching for just the right mix. Not to mention that every summer we read a 'funny' book. That is the most elusive prize for me, and I'll admit I'm already stressing about finding one for this summer. But I love our club, and we've read some truly great titles. Non fiction stunners like Crashing Through and Beautiful Boy to fabulous fiction like Patriot Hearts and Sunflowers.
But, due to circumstances beyond my control, another book club has formed. The job fell to me to choose the first book (which I insist on passing around from now on - I simply can't take the pressure!). Complicating the mix is that I didn't know any of the five other women, or their tastes. Took a stab in the dark, and we settled on A Reliable Wife. Huge mistake! It happens to be one of the best books I've read in years, with numerous unexpected plot twists. I've set the bar far, far too high. We're not going to come close to reading anything this good for ages (by the way, run, don't walk to get this book!). As awful as our bad-book-run was for my initial club, I think starting with such a winner is almost as bad. Where the heck do we go from here?