In the past month I've joined two book clubs. The first, an actual book club which met a week or so ago. The second, an online book club, where we are ostensibly reading "Little Children" by Charles Bock and posting about it on Tumblr here. I'm not done with the book (I think the others on the site are, although also they have not posted there in a while) but I've started thinking about it and trying to figure out how I feel about it (while withholding some judgment). If you want to read some of my thoughts you can check them out here.
As for my real book club, what a trip. I missed the first meeting (where there was no book discussion, just apparently a lot of wine), but I joined for the second, where there was less wine but instead this delicious spicy jam spread on top of cream cheese which I feel like is vaguely middle-American but nevertheless was delicious. Oh, and there was more book talk. This was a group of about 10 girls, and I knew three of them. The connections between them all was pretty vague -- some were Stanford folks so I was connected to the by degrees, and then there were the second and third degree connections that I couldn't keep track of. I'd never been to a book club before and was hesitant about it thanks in part to stories I've heard from other folks (you know who you are). When we first got there we went around naming our favorite books and it was a pretty mixed bag. Some of us were English majors and others weren't, and some of those were pretty uncertain about being able to hold their own in a book club, which I said was silly (because it is). But then we went straight into discussion and it was really cool actually! We had a ton to say, even though the book was very short and I hadn't been sure that I'd have a lot to say until we got there. It felt really, really good to be sitting down with a group of smart people to talk about a book and get really into it and let myself be a total nerd. I was in pretty good company -- one girl that was there, I swear she's read everything on the planet, and another busted out some reference to the meaning of the word frog in Japanese, and we generally had a great time. Our next book is "This Side of Paradise" which I feel will be very different, but I haven't read it so I'm not sure how the discussion will go.
And for the record, we read "After the Quake." I really enjoyed it, especially after we'd talked about it, and I liked it more than the other Murakami books I'd read. I have to say that if you are an English major nerd, you should read this for your book club 'cause there's lots of fun symbolic shit to explore and talk about. I get the paper-writing urge just thinking about it. Mm mm.