Correcting my Collection


Urgency Day: 466

500 Things Items 32-35: The World is Flat, The Corrections, Water for Elephants, Bel Canto

  • Curious about book-club books even when not in book clubs
  • Paul v. Suzanne appeal detailed below
  • Loving the streamlining
  • Donations

How can two such avid readers not be in any book clubs? Or the corollary: If a book is read but not discussed, is it still made from falling trees?

No wait. We’re not talking about Godot here.

I admit it; I am self-conscious about not being in a book club. It’s not from a lack of invitations. I have one darling friend who has repeatedly encouraged me to join either of her two book groups. “Just try one. You’ll love the people, and we have really great food!”

Yes, the food. A tiny part of my reluctance is the fear that I would become like the character Maggie Gyllenhaal plays in the wonderful movie Stranger than Fiction. Have you seen it? She was a law student who started bringing baked treats to her study group and found that she was more interested in providing her group with delicious muffins, cupcakes, tarts, éclairs, breads, cookies, pies, napoleons, brownies, bagels, biscuits… oh my— than in studying the law. She flunked out and opened a bakery.

I don’t think I could qualify for a start-up loan.

Really, it’s not the food or the time-commitment, and it’s certainly not the people that have me squirming for excuses. It’s the books. Book clubs tend to choose to read contemporary, challenging, often disturbing books.

I am a PG girl in an R-rated world.

Of the four books included today in my 500 Things downsizing effort, I have read two. The two hard covers for what it’s worth: The World is Flat and The Corrections. Friedman’s book made great connections, but I have come to realize that current events books like this are best borrowed from the library. For me, they become too quickly dated to deserve a spot in my Very Streamlined Library. And The Corrections? Geez, I hated that book. I hated the entire cast of unsympathetic characters and the smug tone of the writer.

Paul kind of liked it. He’s much more sophisticated than I am.

Paul also enjoyed the other two books, but they fall precisely into my discomfort-zone. They are just too rough for my delicate sensibilities. Oh, but I loved, adored actually, Ann Patchett’s latest novel, Run. If you haven’t read it—wait for it—Run! right out and get this book! (Also, please see the latest additions to my 250 Books project page. A wee tip of the hat there.)

I guess I need to find or start a group like the Jane Austen Book Club (ditto, a wonderful movie). I can just imagine the relaxed delight we would share in knowing that none of us would ever suggest The Kite Runner or The Help or The Kite Runner (sic!) as a selection.

My Filters do such a heroic job of steering me clear of movies that, despite clever and deceptive ad campaigns that try to lure me in, would simply be too much for me to handle.

I feel, however, I must take responsibility for my reading nuttiness.

Bring on more coelacanth books!


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