So I’m supposed to be going, on Thursday, to the book group of which I’m a member and (typically) I haven’t read the book yet. This would be a pattern with me. I’ve read loads of other books this past month … just not the one I was supposed to.

Two questions:

1) Should I bother?

2) If not, can anyone tell me enough to make it sound as if I have actually read it.

Basically, can I copy your homework?

Go on … I’ll be your best friend!


22 thoughts on “Halp!

  1. Sounds just like student days.

    You’ve got till Thursday.

    I bet you don’t make it. Useful excuse for reluctance to read on principle: the author is in fact a Tory MP and former MFH.

    (Not true, but nobody need know.)

  2. Oh, let’s do a bookclub! We’ll have some appys and some drinkie-poohs, but lets not bring books. Books just ruin the mojo of a book club.

    And yes, Kate’s ekornes were quite lovely. But that photo was PRE-baby, so who knows. The springs might all shot now. And the leather, not so supple.

  3. The best technique is to speak first and be dismissive. Tell everyone you thought the work jejeune, intellectually feeble and appealing to the lowest common denominator of sentimentalism. That will spread fear and you’ll be back to the nibbles and wine in no time.

  4. good suggestion, christopher – and you’re right, i’m clearly not going to read it now. she doesn’t look much like a mfh – mind you, can’t tell a booker by its cover. may i add you to my little list, btw?
    alph i entirely agree that book groups are far better without the books. re kate – i’ve every sympathy! my lycra seems to have gone. i think i’ve been washed at too high a temperature by the burning fiery furnace of motherhood.
    moobs are you back? or is this via satellite from moscow? your barristerial technique sounds fab! (i thought jejune was one of the war poets, you know, jigfried jejune)

  5. Read it anyway because it’s brilliant (well I liked it, at least). You can skip the bits where the narrator speculates about her grandmother’s past if you’re in a hurry. If you haven’t got it read by then, then you can bluff by saying ‘Of course what most commentators have missed is that this is a bleakly comic book, despite its subject matter.’ (In fact, this works for almost all books you haven’t read because nobody wants to admit they have no sense of humour).

  6. Moonlighting as a publisher’s reader, you’ve been required to read the MS of the same author’s The Dispersal. This puts put you in the unique position of sharing privileged perspectives of The Gathering with your group, none of whom are privy to this blog, but of course you are sworn to secrecy. In due course, by which time the group will have moved on to something else, you claim to have recommended non-publication.

    Actually it might be easier to stay up all night tonight reading it.

    A link? Thank you. I’d like that very much.

  7. I saw the word ‘sex’ in one of Amazon.com’s reviews of it so might be worth at least just flipping thru at random and trying to find the spicy bits.

    If your meet gets bad, take heart.

    I had to read Don DeLillo for a class I took a year ago and the intsructor was a Canuck with like three PHDs and a doctorate, one from Rutgers. He spent a lot of time undermining anything I said by correcting my pronounciation of French slang (ex: facade).

    So just nod and agree a lot with whoever the biggest blowhard in the room is.


  8. I dreamt I started a book group last night. For some reason I was wandering around Glasgow trying to phone one of my group members.


  9. I have an idea. Maintain that you misheard the book group’s instructions as “read a book by an Enright” rather than Anne Enright, and then begin to describe the works of James Enright, the late professional basketball referee and former contributor to the Chicago Evening American newspaper (according to Wikipedia).

  10. … It is unlikely that anyone else will have read anything by James Enright or, indeed, any edition of the Chicago Evening American, so bluffing will be significantly easier.

  11. My granny once went to an Irish funeral – in one of those villages where everyone is a cousin. The old man who died wasn’t a very nice man and after everyone had had a few drinks they propped him up in the coffin and threw buns at him. You can use that experience as your own, if you like.

  12. Ahh – this is our next book group book coincidentally… please give a detailed report from your meeting, rivergirlie, so that I can shamelessly crib all the brainy quotes!

  13. Amazon do select ‘try-out’ pages and the publishers website will have a few extracts. If you read those and a few online newspaper reviews etc – just talk about those bits – OR take Kettle Chips as a friendly snack with you and pretend to choke on one when it is your turn thus missing your go?

    What do people actually do at Book Clubs – apart from read and discuss books – do you have to stand up and read extracts and have arguments and stuff?

  14. actually, i did start it and i thought it was very good – lovely writing. but given stuff that’s happened recently, it’s a bit too dark. i just can’t cope with it at the moment.

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