Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bourgeois living

I tried to organize a book club once. We read 1984. A handful of people showed up. Most of us had read most of the book, or remembered it clearly enough from when we'd read it a decade beforehand, or had rewatched the movie recently. We drank a lot. We even discussed the book a little. I considered it a success.

The social phenomenon of the book club is considered in The Guardian. "What is clear is that the book club is now a near-ubiquitous feature of bourgeois life."

The discourse at reading groups does not often have much in common with the language of scholarship. Prof Currie and a fellow English literature don were once barred from a book club lest they ruin the fun with talk of structuralism and the like.

For others, that expulsion might represent a happy revolution. According to Professor John Sutherland, of London University: "People are reclaiming the right to read from pointy-headed academics".

The primary reason I'm not cut out for book clubs is that I want to read what I want to read. On my terms, on my schedule. At whatever level of depth I deem appropriate at the time. So this blog is my book club (and this discussion probably counts). I can drink however much I want. And I consider it a success.


Anonymous said...

I think you're right, I think your blog is indeed your answer to that feeling, that yearning, that you had to discuss things in depth with someone...anyone. For my part, I do apologize that I was mainly interested in the drinking aspect of our book club, Isabella. Wait, that's not true, reading IS my passion, of course. But for whatever reason (okay, I won't name names...lol!) we never seemed to get off the ground. Here, however, you do seem to have hit your stride. Excellent!

Ann D said...

I belonged to a book club about 15 years ago. I had to quit after about 2 meetings because the books were pretentious and the book club members were worse. I think it was a bad book club, however, because everyone else seems to belong to really fun book clubs where lively discussions and much rowdiness occurs. I've thought of starting my own book club, but I'm too busy to do that right now. So I think I'll continue to hang out in your virtual book club instead.

Ann D
The Mother of All Blogs

Suzanne said...

I am a ghost member of my book group at the moment. It's too difficult to arrange the logistics of child care, and I don't usually have time to read both what I want to read and what the book group is reading.

I do like my book group, though. It's completely unpretentious, and sometimes the meetings serve as a pretext for a social outing. For anyone seeking a serious group, we are definitely not it.