January 21, 2010

The post that doesn't belong to me.

@smashadv on Twitter invited me to submit a guest post to his blog Obsessed with Conformity. Anyway, this is what I'm sending him. Enjoy.

I’ve got my book club meeting coming up tonight. It’s the fourth time we’ll be meeting since forming the club a few months ago. It’s also the fourth time I’ve started a book for book club and not finished it. In fact, this time around, I managed to get only 64 pages into the book (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters), making it the least-read book of them all.

Oh, did I mention I’m the one who suggested we read this book?

I should be frustrated with myself for not being able to finish what I start, but I’m not. I’ve been thinking a lot, though, of why I’m not committing to these books even though I have very sincere intentions of reading everything we choose. I love reading, and I’m always eager to find something new and engaging. I also love talking about books and hearing the many different things that other people got from the very same words I read. As a writer, I find it fascinating to know that what I put on a page can be processed and interpreted so many wildly divergent ways depending solely upon the eyes that see it.

So what’s the problem, right? This should be a no-brainer. But when it gets right down to it, I think the reason I don’t worry too much about finishing a book for book club is because the meetings really aren’t about literature to me. Book club is about the social interaction it provides. We talk about the books, for sure. But it’s squeezed in between a lot of other non-literary discussion. The other women and I discuss the normal sorts of things: home life, kids, work, boyfriends, husbands, etc. And it gives me a sense of wellbeing to know other women out there struggle with the same challenges day-in and day-out that I do. This sort of real life human connection is something I think is becoming a little bit of an anomaly when so much interaction nowadays is via social networking media, to which I wholeheartedly admit being a slave. In fact, it’s all thanks to Twitter that this post even appears here. But there’s something really comforting about being in the company of other people and seeing their reactions and hearing their laughter and touching their hands. I have no intention of abandoning my Twitter, Facebook, Google Wave, Blip, or Formspring accounts anytime soon, but I’m going to remember I can’t get a hug from any of them.

Meanwhile, someone has already suggested Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for our next book club selection, and I swear, this time, I’m going to finish it come hell or high water. Probably.

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