Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bookish Club

Like most guys, heretofore your reading tastes have not progressed much beyond espionage novels, the wit and wisdom of Yogi Berra, and fart-joke books.

Maybe writing the great American novel is not on your “to do” list, or any tome for that matter, but there is still time to correct that “C” you earned in English Reading and Comprehension. Just be prepared - there are few male heroes in literature, at least literary literature (as contrasted with commercial literature - think Tom Clancy and John Grisham)*. If you need male heroes, read romance novels. I tried once and did not make it past the first chapter, but my romance-novel-addicted-wife forces me to listen to passages all of the time. She may be trying to tell me something.

For the times you cannot laugh at yourself, read anything by Carl Hiaason, or Dave Barry. For you golf gophers, Hiaason just published a non-fiction rant entitled Down Hill Lie.

If joining a book club appeals, I have bad news - you actually have to read 10-11 books a year and mutter something reasonably succinct other than thumbs up or down, or “hated it.”

If you are a male minority member of your book club, be prepared for the pre-discussion gabfest to range from the latest dog obedience school certificates to the pros and cons of tile versus slate versus limestone kitchen countertops.

After a few years, you too can discuss the subtle distinctions between post-modern and southern gothic literature**. Your vocabulary will finally surpass 10th grade level. This strategy, plus the daily crosswords, will replace some of those dead zone brain cells.

If the group picks The Brothers Karanazov, call in sick. If you are having bouts of depression, don’t read anything by Sylvia Plath.

More bad news - you have to host 1-2 times a year. You could dash out and buy prepared grub 1-2 hours in advance, but where’s the challenge in that? Besides, if you failed to finish the monthly selection, you need to redeem yourself with the spread you prepare.

We usually open three wines, two reds and a white. This further makes for a lively discussion. Better parting hugs, too.

Our book club could more appropriately called a Book, Cooking, and Wine Tasting Club. After eight years we could assemble a pretty top-notch collection of recipes.

* The library shelves are quite bare. But, it would be hard to top the modeling of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, even if he doesn’t cook. Sadly, there are too few Atticus Finches in the world, and in literature.

** Southern Gothic Literature usually deals with the struggles of those oppressed by traditional Southern culture. Southern Gothic authors include Harper Lee, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and Carson McCullers. As for Postmodern Literature, I still haven’t a clue. They let me stay in the club anyway. I think it’s because of my cooking.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

In a book club too? Where do you find the time? I guess anyone can find the time if one wants to bad enough.

I love a good discussion if it's about a worthy piece of literature. What better specimen but the Holy Bible, huh? Last year, September through May, I took part in three study groups. In one, we studied the complete book of Daniel, the second was a study of Galations, Ephesians, and Phillipians, and the third we studied Esther and James.

What's great about studying the Bible is there is nothing like it in all the works of great literature. Nothing even comes close... It is the love story to us from our Creator; how awesome is that? By studying the Bible in context, we get to know God and His plan for us all. The best part is His neverending love for us that no one else in the universe can provide.

Oftentimes when I hear someone commenting on a subject taught in the Bible in a faulty way, I wonder if that person has ever read and understood the context. That's why I think it's so important to study it; if everyone took the time to study and understand it, if we were all on the same page, our personal relationships, our country and our world would be a much better place to live...;)