A Literary Solution to a Book Club Etiquette Problem
PROBLEM: My friends and I have a book club where we read one book a month, meet and discuss. We all tend to see each other regularly. But two or three people never actually read the book (it’s obvious) and only want to spend the time gossiping. My question is about book club etiquette: Is there a polite way to kick them out? I really like reading and talking about books, and this is my only time to do it. Plus, I can tell I’m not the only one getting annoyed.
LG: A polite way? Probably not.
But there’s a passive aggressive way. (“Ladies, we should read the Gossip Girl series next, because we spend so much time talking about other people! Haha!”) And a reality show way. (“We’ve talked, and we’ve voted you three out of the club, just like on Survivor, which you probably watched instead of reading this month’s book.”) And a pirate way. (“Walk the plank we made out of all of the books you haven’t read!”) And a literary way. (See Golding, William.) You seem to be heading this last direction already. Don’t forget to designate a Piggy.
KB: LG, I see you drank your funny juice tonight! I always love a deft Lord of the Flies reference.
Now here’s the thing, Dear Bibliophile, I think you’re taking this whole book club rules thing a little too seriously. Everyone knows book clubs are really just a real-life episode of Bored Housewives of Bombay: a monthly excuse to get a little too tipsy, gab about inane things, and pretend you like each other. People who really like “reading and talking about books” just do it, in the course of their daily lives. So, I fear you may be the only one who didn’t get the memo on book clubs (aka monthly wine-and-cheese-and-gossip nights), and you should relax… lest it be your head on that stick.
SB: If you’re that girl at the book club trying to wrangle your tipsy friends back on topic, I’m with KB: You’ve missed the plot! But, since you feel so strongly about it, I suggest you either stage a mutiny with your band of erudite friends to take back the club or band together and faction off to have your own meetings, which you can keep on task and free of merriment.