I've never been in a bookclub. Poor Cinders. But I've been the guest of many, many bookclubs who're reading one of my books - three this week as a matter of fact - and a girl can dream.
The bookclubs I've visited have all been suspiciously well-catered considering the book's the thing. (Right? (Wink.)) One of them had a full, three-course dinner, with a menu chosen to reflect the reading matter. Others go down the cheeseball and kettle chips route but liquid refreshments are always many and excellent. I learned a new drink reciper at a Sacramento bookclub on Saturday morning: it's just a cooler of water with cucumber, mint and sliced ginger floating in it, but so cleansing. We all agreed we were pretty much committed to cleansing with latte and chocolate-covered graham crackers, but it sounded lovely.
My dream bookclub will serve Taylor's of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold tea in pint mugs with cold whole milk. And Hobnobs for dunking.
And the range of books these women (mostly) are reading! Of course, when I go they're reading British crime fiction, but I get to hear about last month's and next month's and that one they all hated . . . fiction light and dark, memoirs old and new, history and science and The Casual Vacancy. There's a state law in California that every bookclub has to read The Casual Vacancy. It was signed in after the lapsing of the We Need To Talk About Kevin statute, I think. I adored both those books, by the way, and could have joined the fray. (These two books are quite divisive.)
My dream bookclub would be reading Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy, Dickens (something's going to make me do it one day), The Martian if it's not too late, and Beowulf. I'd assign Beowulf when the meeting was at my house and when no one came I'd curl up and watch a Gilmore Girls box-set.
It's always fun to try to work out how this disparate group of women ever came to be in a club together. Some drive so they're not all neighbours; they don't work together; they certainly don't enjoy the same kind of books as a rule - The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Jonathan Franzen in consecutive months? (This is a true example from a bookclub I visited years ago. I don't know if it's still going.) But while I've witnessed plenty arguments and a few quite lively ones, I've never seen a rolled eye or heard a derisive snort.
My dream bookclub would have in it women of all ages, from everywhere, none of whom I've ever met. And a man if he wants to be there. Plus another one if he needs a friend. And at least one of the women should be a scientist to explain things in The Martian. If I get to handpick, I'd like to have my old Latin teacher from school, Jane Austen (why not, since I'm dreaming) and like I said . . . Oprah is more than welcome.
Who's in your dream bookclub? And what are you drinking reading?