So, I’m a high school English teacher who hasn’t been reading nearly enough to justify two advanced degrees and years of peddling the love of literature to teenagers. I have tried to read more, but my pre-child fantasies of reading The New York Times and doing the crossword every day (ha!) once I was at home with “the baby” scampered out the door with my good night’s sleep. I’ve mainly focused on lighter reading that includes fictionalized history involving Anne Boleyn and fantasy and science-fiction that involves dragons and genetic mutation. Since moving to suburbia, however, I’ve been yearning to join a book group. You know, a super motivated, intelligent, friendly group of locals who love to read and discuss the works more deeply than how the cover relates to the content. Well, I got my wish. And now I’m terrified!
Okay, I’m not terrified, but I am a little nervous. What if I talk too much? Not enough? What if I say something about the novel that sounds pretentious or obtuse? What if I come off as a know-it-all-who-really-doesn’t-know-it-at-all? So many What Ifs!
As a book group virgin, my visualizations of book groups come from watching The Jane Austen Book Club and seeing a book club with Toni Morrison on Oprah. (And yes, I wrote in to be included in that dream book-talk, but was rejected.) Of course, I always had a captive book group of students five times a day, six on the days my after-school book club met. But this book club is serious. It’s established, and it has canapés, wine, and dessert.
Oh dear. What will happen when I have to host? I can’t just bring out Costco frozen mini-quiche. Should I hire my next door neighbor to make hors d’oeuvres? Should I just run out to Whole Foods and raid their pantry items? And will the kids be quiet upstairs so everyone comments on how well-behaved they are? And where will everyone sit? I don’t have comfy seating for more than
six four people.
Anyway, I got what I wanted. I am now a part of a real book group. I get to combine my desire to read with my desire for adult conversation. I already picked up my first book at Watchung Booksellers the other day, and I’m reading it weeks before the actual meeting. Performance anxiety aside, I’m looking forward to the first book group meeting so I can banish my fears and enjoy the experience. Here’s to getting your wish!