The Fraught World of Book Clubs

Sarah’s written an entertaining post about the many stresses of the book club:

Men can meet up without women to watch, or more rarely, participate in sports. “Book club” equals “the match” in terms of socially acceptable excuses for women to escape children and husbands. It’s a recognised man-free zone and women like it like that so they can talk freely.

You can talk about most things with the modern man but a few taboos remain. Some female conversations like fake tanning, children’s bowel movements and clothes can be discussed in male company with their indulgence. However, the subject of yeast infections is best avoided. They like to believe its all Georgia O’Keefe down there, so one might as well leave them their illusions.

Heh. “Georgia O’Keefe down there”–that’s funny. On a related note, I just finished Nick Hornby’s enjoyable A Long Way Down. One of the protagonists is a bitter, elitist, middle-aged man, and had this say about book clubs:

A few years ago, Cindy joined one of those dreadful reading groups, where unhappy, repressed, middle-class lesbians talk for five minutes about some novel they don’t understand, and then spend the rest of the evening moaning about how dreadful men are.

I’m sure neither Sarah nor Nick are entirely accurate, but they both made me laugh.

1 comment

  1. One of my favourite episodes of Malcolm in the Middle featured Lois (the mom) joining a book club. She is nervous and prepares by reading the book and making notes. When she gets to the book club, she finds out it’s just an excuse to drink and trash the other women of the neighbourhood. As bottles of wine are consumed, the ladies get more aggressive and eventually go on a rampage to destroy their neighbour’s lawn.

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