So here we are on a Monday morning not having read the same books over the last couple of weeks and then sitting with dazed expressions over our coffee, not knowing what to review. There was lots to gossip about but very little bookish stuff. We exhausted our comparison of the Golden Globes red carpet and the Critic’s Choice red carpet, the resignation of Jacinda Ardern and a little bit of book talk about the speakers at the 2023 Jaipur Lit Fest, most of whom we had never heard of.
It just isn’t possible in a book club of two to ‘wing it’ by pretending to have read a book. The Wikipedia summary or spark notes are not enough. The other person will be able to immediately tell that you are prevaricating. Then there is often the problem of one person not turning up, in which case the discussion has to be cancelled altogether. Achieving a quorum is quite tough in the face of school exams, out station trips, holidays and basically life. Attendance is essential on a Monday morning for the club to function. Casual absenteeism is frowned upon resulting in the penalty of having to buy coffee next time. Not to mention guilt tripping for the lack of a blog post despite the ‘mostly’ in MostlyMondays. Then there is the issue that a synchronised ‘to be read’ list does not guarantee a synchronised ‘have read’ book list. We try to maintain some co ordination across genres but every once in a while the genres diverge and then discussion becomes impossible. Since we are not only a book club but also write a blog, there is the occasional issue of writer’s block which can be quite contagious. Also, since the members of the club have similar tastes, there tends to be too much consensus at times. Dissent can lead to drama, vigorous disagreements about the book of the week add spice to book club meetings. In in our club there is a complete lack of it.
So we end up doing the other stuff that book clubs do, discuss what to read next, also known as list building, drink coffee, eat a few snacks, grumble about the state of the city, the weather, global warming, food, some cribbing about authors who never finish series etc. Then we wonder whether it would make sense to add a few more people into the book club. But that idea is rejected as soon as it is voiced as being more trouble than it would be worth.