About two years ago, I responded to a Craig's List post about a new book club. At the time, I was recovering from the hermit lifestyle I had led with an ex-boyfriend, and I was trying to meet men in organic ways by doing things that I enjoyed doing. I was only just discovering that the things I enjoy doing are mostly things that other women enjoy doing. And the poster on Craig's List neglected to mention in her post that she wanted to create an all-women's book club. She was a bit crazy, but that's a story for another day. At any rate, she turned away the two men who showed interest in the club, and instead we had a lively group of ten women attend the first meeting.
I enjoyed the first meeting enough to commit to attending the second one. By the third meeting our lively group of ten women had dwindled to five, and the original crazy Craig's List poster was gone. The five of us carried on meeting though, through several books, some of which we read, most of which we didn't. At one meeting, Jessica announced that now that the five of us had been meeting monthly for so many months, she had decided that we had become friends, and so she collected our birthdays, and now she organizes birthday outings for the group.
We began to do other things, but we continued to not-read the books we were assigned. We had conversations about boys. They took me shopping for sexy new clothes. We went to movies about books we hadn't read. We baked Christmas cookies. Through Kate, I joined a cooking club, and for a couple of months, we cooked giant potluck dinners together. We even advertized for more members on Craig's List, making sure to warn the new people that we didn't always complete our homework for book club.
The men in our lives have always mocked book club. Emily has a friend who calls us SBC, which is short for Shitty Book Club, because we don't discuss books very often or say very deep things about them when we do. Rachel's friends made fun of us for having a movie date for "Three Christmases", which wasn't even based on a book. Or was it four Christmases? It was a shitty movie, at any rate.
Yesterday, Jess called and asked if I minded if we stopped calling our book club a book club. It will be just the same, she assured me. We'll still get together and talk and do fun things. We can even talk about whatever books we're reading. But instead of not-reading a book that we were suppposed to read together, we wouldn't even plan to read a book together. It sounded perfect. It's all of the fun of getting together with five smart women, and none of the guilt of not having read the book.
And so our new club needs a name. I have suggested "The Illiterati" or "NBC (Non-Book Club)". If you have a good name for our group, let me know. I'll pass it along.
Oh, and I'm still reading "Cold Sassy Tree", in honor of the days when our group, whatever-it-is, used to read books.