Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book Club Book Snub (a rant)

My mom's group holds a monthly book club, and part of the honor of hosting is that you get to choose the book that all the members will partake.

Because my assigned time was just after the holidays, I decided to choose a fun book and went with one that I'd already read. I am the queen of the "pool book" or chick lit, as my former job required that I have hours of mindless, light, reading so that I didn't turn into a completely cynical beyotch.

I had both read and listened to Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes in the past and loved it. The central character, Moi, is a London-born girl, whose American mother connected her with department store heiress Julie Bergdorf in childhood, and they became fast friends. Now, living in New York full-time, the Ivy League educated Moi has been reduced to finding a PH (Prospective Husband) and ensuring that her tresses were appropriately coiffed while her Chloe jeans were always flawless.

This book is no War and Peace, but it's not supposed to be. To me New York City is still this magical, almost mythical place, where everyone lunches at the Four Seasons and dresses like Carrie or Charlotte, working free-lance so that they have time to trot around the city as they please. Even the Mirandas have their evenings and weekends free for the most part, in order to take in all that their high-powered jobs afford them.

My table was set with three platters of Vanilla Cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery recipe, as they were mentioned several times in the book, and I was trying to be clever in my food offerings. I thought it would be a delightful evening with everyone strenuously agreeing what a fun book it had been...

Enter the negative nellies who just couldn't relate to any of the characters, and felt like they had to slog through the book. I went from being the consummate hostess to feeling like a silly 7th grader trying to hang out with the seniors. Believe me, I know that part of book clubs is that not everyone will like the book, but this was a fun book! It wasn't supposed to be relatable, unless your name is Paris or Nicky.

Here I was, finding the love triangle between Julie, Moi and the oh-so-cute and down to earth Charlie Dunlain very engaging, and then people asked questions like "How do they stay so skinny if they're eating at all those places?"..."Um, well, they talked extensively about anorexia and how they cater parties but don't eat anything, and there are also several mentions of the gym and personal trainers. Other than that, IT'S A BOOK! It's called suspended disbelief!!!"

Oh well, back to the rigorous schedule of books that rip your heart out and make you want to commit suicide. I bet none of them will have a central character who inspires the hostess to make fluffy, pink frosted confections that use an entire pound of butter! If we're lucky, at a future meeting we'll be eating Stone Soup and reading Mrs. Dalloway.


Alex Elliot said...

Now wait a minute, I ate two of those cupcakes and was so taken with your dip that I bought spinach and artichoke drip from Trader Joe's the next day. It wasn't nearly as good.
I think the purpose of book club is to get people to read a book and you did. That's even more impressive when you take into account that people read it over the holidays. I enjoyed it. I've hosted book clubs before where only one other person has shown up. Talk about feeling like a 7th grader!

Haidee said...

Hey there, I told you to pick a light book, and I'm glad you did. I couldn't have handled one more depressing and stressful thing over the holidays. I thought your cupcakes were delicious and I wish I'd stolen one for my husband.
I looked at the book as SATC with a little twist, and I thought it was fun. As far as stone soup and Mrs. Dalloway, I don't know what to do, I already picked my next book, which I thought sounded fascinating and I hope you're enjoying. I guess I could offer stone soup :-). Sorry about your 7th grader/senior thing -- believe me, I've hosted some bookclubs that were barely attended and no one read the book.