Tuesday Book Club – Or the one that got away…

So, have you ever done that thing where you’ve written a long and beautiful email and then lost it and not had the heart to retype it because you don’t quite feel you’ll get it quite so good again?

That is essentially what happened to my blog about the inaugural Tuesday Book Club meeting. I lost it weeks ago due to the vagaries of horrible wordpress for IPad and have never managed to recreate it. 

Oh, I was funny about the fact that on the morning of Tuesday book club my husband said ‘what will you do if nobody turns up’ and how I avoided falling into a pit of panicky hostess anxiety and summoned the stoicism necessary to say, ‘if nobody turns up, I will take a photo of the empty room and write a blog piece in it about how it isn’t possible to start a real life book club on twitter.’ 

Oh I was lyrical about the beauty of exchanges of thoughts and feeling about books with strangers, because people did turn up, there were a full ten people, only three of whom I knew from real life and it was everything I hoped for in the way of seeing a book differently when you see it through the eyes of its other readers.

I also shared with you some good stories about book clubs in general, including the one about the woman who was bossy about the choice of book and then didn’t read it but read Fifty Shades of Grey instead. And the real life Heartburnesque story about the woman whose husband not only left her when she was seven months pregnant but he left her for a woman was also seven months pregnant with his child. There’s a happy ending to this. The man is long gone, but the women and their sons, the half-brothers who are almost exactly the same age, are all very close.

What else did I tell you? I gave you a few details of our conversation about Heartburn, about how we all loved the idea that no matter what happened we could be the heroine of our own lives. We talked a lot about the more laid back parenting that Heartburn describes, we were wistful for the simpler time before the fetishisation of motherhood.

We also talked a lot about hamsters, marriage and how Carl Epstein must have felt to be humiliated in print. (‘Served him right’ was the consensus.) We drank wine, some of us left at 9, some of us stayed for more general chat. It was all deeply lovely and my only distress and that I can’t capture the atmosphere in the way I think I did in my lost draft. Sigh. I just have to accept it is gone, I think.

Anyway, let me bury my sadness and move on.

Next book is Damage by Josephine Hart and we’re going to skip a month and meet on Tuesday October the 30th at 7pm at The Old Crown, 33 New Oxford Street.

In a change of subject, I have also been thinking and writing about sock puppets and the book industry for The Bookseller so do have a look at that if you’d like to.

4 responses to “Tuesday Book Club – Or the one that got away…”

  1. Glad it went well Cathy. I have to say that I found Heartburn to be a real slog. Hated the start, hated the end and the humour and the middle just kept me interested enough to finish it. But I’d have enjoyed the discussion it engendered.
    ‘Damage’ is one I’ve fancied for a while so fingers crossed that I get on better with it than with ‘Heartburn’.

  2. So glad it went well and I hope to be there next time. Have read Damage ages ago and hated it but maybe a re-read will/won’t change my mind.
    I read Heartburn assuming I’d be there with you and loved most of it, though towards the end I got a bit pissed off with her. All that therapy (which was quite funny).. Quite keen on the recipes too. I do love a pie.

  3. Do you know, I came looking for a rundown on how it went, didn’t find it, realised I hadn’t read the book, read it, and voila!

    In another piece of synchronicity I had just read a great piece about memoirs (http://whetherpigshavewingsblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/problem-child-in-defence-of-the-memoir) in which she says “at least some of that increase is because it’s become more acceptable to publish in the genre, instead of masking your experiences in fiction.”

    It was interesting, then, reading the introduction in the edition I have, to see that Nora Ephron points out that ‘Philip Roth and John Updike picked away at the carcasses of their early marriages in book after book’.

    I enjoyed Heartburn; not sure I’ll get to Damage – Battleborn, although making me fall back in love with short stories, is providing me with my trauma quota for the year.

  4. You know I am completely empathising with ‘the one that got away’ because I was going to be terrific at Tuesday Book Club. I loved Damage and read it in almost one sitting and was going to wax lyrical about the illusion of free will, which in theory should be about just saying ‘no’, but how very difficult a concept that is, as I couldn’t even say ‘no’ to reading on and on and missed the start of a meeting as a result. Yes, I thought it was a fascinating, disturbing and rather brilliant read, but no, I cannot be there and discuss it because, due to the month skipping, you are clubbing when I am on holiday AGAIN! Hideous. I may try and tweet along, though we are going with lots of family and I may be deemed anti-social. Pah. I shall just say a greater force has overtaken me and I have no choice perhaps. Have a great time Tuesday. I have not booked any holidays for the last week in November so shall be there then….at last.

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