A little while ago I decided I wanted to join a book club.
No I am not a blue cardigan wearing bespectacled member of the 80 plus age group. I am a regular-ish young girl and I like reading and then talking about books I’ve read in a semi-intelligent way involving food and lots of drinks. I had this image of myself surrounded by young trendy urbanites in a darkened pub with dog-eared copies of our books around us with splashes of martini rosso upon them, saying things like ‘This book marks the zeitgeist of today without being too conformist’. Failing that it would at least mean that when I finish a book and go ‘huh?’ I’d have other people to ‘huh’ with too.
So I set about trying to find a book club. Like pretty much everything these days, whether it’s dates, shoes or part-owning a farm animal, I thought this would be easily achieved through the internet. It appears I was wrong. After googling ‘Book club North London’ to no avail, I tried ‘Book clubs London’ or ‘how to join a book club’ and I found lots of suggestions of how to form one but no real existing ones.
Finally I found one with a list of book clubs in London – aha, I had hit the jackpot I thought. After skimming through the options – ‘Afro-carribean under 40 book club’, ‘Young, gay and Jewish book club’, ‘Lives under the Brent Cross bypass next to the kebab shop and outside the post box book club’, I found one I thought would be fairly welcoming to me. I banged off a suitably witty and bookish, affable email expressing my interest to join said book club and asking when the next meeting would be. Two weeks later. No reply.
Hmm, I thought. This book club lark is harder than I thought. So I moved on to option number two, which had sounded like the book club equivalent of Club Med – 18-31 book club, discuss books and then cop off with the fittie next to you afterwards. Could be kinda fun? One email to them – one email back from them saying they were full. Full?? Since when have book clubs become the equivalent of Movida? It’s a book club for crying out loud, I thought they’d be gnawing my arm off with delight that I’ve deigned them with my presence and haven’t yet integrated into the Kindle-clutching android masses. But no – apparently book clubs are harder to get into than Juilliard.
In desperation I tried one more and received a mass, generic reply that they clearly send to all prospective book club suitors saying their next meeting was in three months time and they’d add me to the waiting list.
I give up. There’s gotta be an easier way to do this. I’d set one up in my area but as I’m currently residing in a sleepy commuter town I probably would need to give up my rose-tinted vision of enlightening chats about Sartre’s sub texts and settle for dissecting the latest Catherine Cookson over some digestives. Then again maybe that’s the kind of presumptions and snobbery that has led to iron-fenced book clubs where members thumb their noses and make new would-be members go through bum-paddlings and periodic electric shocks while having to recite the first chapter of Dickens ‘Little Dorrit’ .
If anyone has a book club that I can join, can I please, please join? I promise I’ll be good, make cakes and not put forward Kerry Katona’s autobiography as a suggestion (Katie Price’s is clearly better). Otherwise I’ll have to just set one up myself and invite all my fellow rejects from the exclusive School of Book Clubs.