Saturday 03 Dec 2016

Clubbin'
Jennifer Flaten

You know what I really don't get, book clubs. I really do not get the whole book club thing.

Yes, I know I love to read, so I should like talking about what I read, but I don't.

Here is what I can't understand about book clubs, where is the fun in sitting around listening to a bunch of people analyzing a book.

I can't imagine anything worse then having to listening to some idiot pontificate endlessly about some tiny point in a book.

Okay, maybe I am biased; I think my dislike of book clubs (and the discussion of books in general) stems from my school years.

In school, I was subject to the torture known as Advance English class.

If you aren't familiar with AP English, all you need to know is that it allows the students to spend the entire class giving their opinion about a book, which they do with gusto.

Oh, sure occasionally the teacher jumps in to lead the discussion or maybe there is an essay test, but all and all it is a gabfest.

You do not know self-important until you sit around with a bunch of young adults and listen to them discuss the symbolism of the whale in Moby Dick.

I still shudder when I think about my hours spent trapped in a windowless classroom forced to listen to my fellow students psychoanalyzing Hamlet.

The overall silliness was compounded by the teacher interjecting comments about the inflections that should be placed on the words 'country matters' and the true meaning of the line about 'getting thee to a nunnery'.

While the English class soured me on book clubs, the main reason I refuse to participate in one is Oprah Winfrey.

Yep, I refuse to join a group that is required to read items selected by a TV star.

No, I simply cannot believe that a mega millionaire talk show host and I have the same interests in anything, especially literature.

Furthermore, I cannot fathom what would make her qualified to pick books for me or anyone else for that matter.

Besides, I have the sneaking suspicion that Ms. Winfrey rarely cracks the spine on any of her book club selections.

Although, I think that is true of many a book club participant. I'll bet there are very few people who read every book club selection.

No, I think Oprah has one of her many minions suggest the book. They are supposed to read it and vett it but based on the recent scandals involving book club books, I would say someone is asleep at the switch.

I also think book clubs are just an excuse for women to get together and try to out do each other.

Have you seen one of these book club meetings? There are snacks and beverages and the house is done up as if the hostess is expecting a surprise inspection from Martha Stewart.

Aside from the hostesses outdoing each other, the participants have to outdo each other in terms of finding some passage in the book to hold forth on.

It boils down to the fact that the focus of the book club isn't on the book, or about reading for pleasure.

It is reading the book solely so you can talk about it, which is too much like an assignment for me.

I mean have you seen one of the book club kits you can get from the library? You have to carry that thing out with a forklift. There are discussion sheets and talking point ... ewww.

My major problem is if I don't like a book I stop reading it and I am pretty sure that is punishable by death in a book club.

It isn't that I don't want to talk about books I have read. I just want to talk about them as you would a good movie or TV show.

As in, "can you believe they did xyz" or "isn't it amazing how the writer captures the feel of that time period?" I do not want to discuss whether the hero an allegory for the social problems of today.

Of course, I feel the same way about dissecting art. I don't understand why you can't just like the piece of artwork. Why must you understand the artist's motivation in creating it?

Perhaps, you could do that with my work.

Discuss-What exactly is the writer trying to accomplish with this piece? Is she being funny?

On the other hand, is the writer is striving to enlighten us all on the deeper meaning of life

Nah ... the writer is a self-important idiot.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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