Friday, September 4, 2009

Mylesie's Guide to Faking Your Way Through Book Club, When You Didn't Read The Book

So, tonight is book group, and you didn't read the book...

Mylesie's Guide to Faking Your Way Through an Evening with Your Book Group

Okay, kittens, so you didn't have time or maybe inclination to read the latest selection from your Book Group's list. Perhaps you're hopelessly lazy. Maybe you have ADD or ODD. Or maybe you really don't care much for reading and you only attend book group for the delicious snacks. In any case: DON'T PANIC! First, let me tell you that you are not alone in your dereliction of Book Club duty. I have found over the years that about 25% of the members at any given time don't read the book. The reasons vary, and the excuses are legion.
Of course, yours truly would never willingly admit to not having read the book for Book Club, but if you find yourself wanting to escape the potential admonishment and humiliation from those who have read the book and are all smug and judgey about it, you can try these little tips to help get you through the evening unscathed. One note of warning: you will know the ending of the book almost immediately. Someone will invariably bring that up (first, most likely) as a talking point, so if you really don't want to know how it ends because you really intend to read it, this would be a time to call in sick.

1. The first rule of Book Club is: Never, NEVER admit to anyone in the group that you have not read the book. Yes, they seem like they're your friends, laughing at your jokes, asking you about your job or your love life, but even your closest comrade will rat you out in Book Group. There are multiple theories behind the motivation for this betrayal, but it can be avoided if you keep your yap shut.

2. Most Book Group meetings are centered around a pot luck meal. Bring something really delicious that seems to require prep. This serves two purposes: first, you are most likely to be forgiven if found out if you have brought a particularly yummy treat. Second, while the group is hashing out the symbolism, meaning, characterization, plot points, paradigms, etc., you are "busy" in the kitchen working on something very complicated. Using faux French words and high drama lends to the authenticity of your difficult dish. Laugh shrilly, and say something like, "I'm sorry, I have to go into the kitchen--my Napoleons des Boeufs need my attention before they completely implode."

3. Spend two minutes online reading the reviews of the book in question. One can garner a lot of information from the witticisms and intellect of those who are even more adept than you at pretending they read the book. Oh sure. You think those people really have time to read all those books? Please.

4. Fly under the radar. When other people discuss how they loved this or that, or couldn't get into that other thing, nod your head a little, or better, frown, rest your chin in your hand, and say "Hmmm...I don't know. I didn't think about it that way." If some smart ass decides to push you for an opinion at that point, say, "Well, I hadn't seen it the way (insert the last groupie's name) did. Come back to me. I'm still thinking about it."

5. Throw them off by asking a few brilliantly pointed questions. If you did your 2 minute homework, you will know at least two characters names and a brief plot point or two. Keep it vague, yet confusing in that post-modernist way we have all come to love and admire. "So what did you think of the variations in symbolism in that paradigm shift for (insert character's name here)." You can even tell them you read the reviews, which will make you appear to be well researched and will lend to your authenticity.

6. When in doubt, pour more wine. Nothing will get you out of a sticky situation faster than a generous pouring. Should one of your dear companions start to become aware that something is awry, quickly slosh more wine into her glass and ask if she really likes that particular wine because you "have a bottle of (something else) that you could open right now--it would be no trouble--really..." and by then the group will have moved on.

Good luck, darlings. Now seriously, do as I say (not as I do) and go and read the book!

*Calvin's Note: Thank you to my guest blogger Mylesie! Check out her awesome blog at: Dizzy Limit


  1. Love it!!!! I may join a book club now!

  2. Thanks for the props, Calvin. I humbly defer to you, darlin'! YOU ROCK!