Confession Friday: I Didn't Read the Book for Book Club(s)

October 4, 2013 Book Club, Confession Friday 60

Dearest Bookworms,

I have a confession to make. I’ve been really bad this month. I’m in two book clubs, (in actual visceral face-to-face LIFE) and this month? I didn’t read the book for either of them. I’m so ashamed. I had my reasons… They just weren’t very good reasons.

September’s pick for My Neighbors are Better than Your Neighbors was Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. I’ve heard a lot of conflicting reports on the book, but honestly? I just didn’t feel like reading it. I liked Swamplandia! well enough, but I was just not in the mood for literary fiction, let alone literary fiction in short story format. I caved in two days before book club and downloaded the book on my kindle… I made it through three stories and threw in the towel. Vampires eating lemons? Girls turning into silk worms? Giant seagulls with the ability to steal things from the future? It made my brain hurt and all I wanted were some doggone zombies!

vampires in the lemon grove

(It’s a good thing my neighbors are so awesome. They let me have wine and dessert despite my reading failure. Remind me to tell you about how good an idea it is to have a neighbor with a spare set of keys to your house. There just might come a day when your keys get locked in your car and your unicorn-loving neighbor bails you out. I mean, hypothetically, of course. )

Then… Whine and Whining. The choice for September was Drop City by T.C. Boyle. It is about a hippie commune and has naked butts on the cover… I haven’t even acquired a copy. Book Club was supposed to be on Tuesday of this week and it was postponed until next. Guess who is reading a zombie book instead of Drop City? This girl. Shameful goings on for a self professed bookworm, no? Perhaps I’ll catch up this weekend, but I know myself. I will likely be drinking wine by myself at home come Tuesday evening… And reading something that isn’t Drop City. 

drop city

On a positive note, as a result of skipping my “assigned” book club reading, I’m ahead of the game for The Fellowship of the Worms
I’m looking forward to discussing Justin Cronin’s The Passage with everyone. It helps me feel like less of a tool for not doing my homework. Bookworms, I’m falling into a shame spiral. Share your stories about skipping the assigned reading for school or book club. Please? 

60 Responses to “Confession Friday: I Didn't Read the Book for Book Club(s)”

  1. Charleen

    I rarely did the assigned reading when I was in school. It’s not that I just blew it off (at least not at first), I did try, but my eyes ended up glazing over and I soaked up just enough to get by getting called on once in class discussion (the upside of overcrowded classes). I was a good student, but English was definitely one of my least favorite classes, and to this day I have major issues with assigned reading… or at least the assigned reading I had to do. Hopefully by the time I have kids and they get to high school, schools will have wised up about how to actually encourage reading. But I’m not holding my breath.

    I’ve never been in a real life book club, but considering my hit-or-miss history with online ones, I don’t think I’d do well. Unless of course it was one of those clubs where no one reads the book and it’s just an excuse to snack and drink… that I think I could handle.

    • Quirky Chrissy

      To touch on Charleen’s point. I never did it in college. Ever. Even as an English major. I read that shit on my own terms. I guess that’s why I’ve never actually been in a book club…

    • Words for Worms

      My neighborhood book club is more about snacks, drinks, and neighborhood gossip than it is the books, but it’s a good time nonetheless :). If you ever move to my neck of the woods, I’ll hook you up.

  2. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    It happens. My in-person book club is meeting again in about 3 weeks (a short turnaround for us because of Halloween on our usual night), and we’re reading The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes. A lovely book, I’m sure, but I’m so not in the mood.

  3. Ashley Z

    I’m still slacking on The Passage. It is just dragging! And its long! I Logged over an hour last night and when I went to shut down the kindle I only read 12% what? 12%? At this rate I think I’m going to fail book club this month!

  4. ttcwriter

    Vampires in the Lemon Grove–I was surprised I liked it so much given I wasn’t a fan of Swamplandia!. Thinking about “Proving Up” still gives me the chills.

    But I know about neglecting reading. I keep on going back to The Stand instead of finishing the two books I’m supposed to be reading for a review assignment. Last fall, I also had two books assigned to me–The Weight of Temptation and Among the Islands–and I never cracked either book. I just didn’t have it in me.

  5. Megan M.

    This is the reason I’ve never joined a book club. If they pick a book I have no interest in, I just… won’t… read it. The beauty of Words for Worms is that you give us a way to get in on the discussion even if we haven’t read the book. I’m pretty sure I always did assigned reading in school because there honestly wasn’t that much of it, but also the teachers loved to throw in questions on the test that would tell them if you tried to cheat and watch the movie instead.

    • Words for Worms

      I almost always did the assigned reading for school because I’m a big weenie and I didn’t want to get in trouble. I want the blog to be fun though, and not everybody will have read everything. Conversation for all, I say!

  6. Wayne

    I was just starting my graduate studies in college and I decided that I wanted to learn more about French and Germany literature having liked Camus in high school. As the Professor explained, we would have to read books like *Remembrances Of Things Past* by Proust and *The Magic Mountain* by Thomas Mann. I did fine with the shorter works like *The Immoralist* by Gide and Le Père Goriot by Balzac (in English of course). Not so well with *The Magic Mountain* whose’s philosophizing was beyond me or Prout, who I couldn’t stand.

  7. kristinshafel

    I was always pretty good about reading the assigned books in school (not that I loved every one of them). But this sort of thing JUST happened to me with my book group my local library. Barry Lopez’s About This Life—it’s very poetic, dense writing that is truly great, but you really need to devote a good chunk of time to it and I haven’t had that luxury lately. So I showed up to book group anyway last week and confessed, but it turns out I wasn’t alone anyway. Our leader said we could keep them and finish—maybe at a later meeting we can discuss it again. Sigh!

  8. Psychobabble

    Okay, so when I was growing up my local library had this summer reading contest. You won if you read 128 books during the summer (don’t ask me why the weird number), and just one summer, I wanted to win. In order to get credit for reading your books, you took several up to this library lady and she would pick one and ask you to tell her about it to prove you’ve read it.
    So. I cheated on one book. I didn’t read it and it was mixed in with other books I had read. I was soooo nervous that the lady would choose the unread book for me to tell her about that I practically memorized the back cover description. To my surprise, when I got to the front of the line, the nice lady let me choose which book to talk about, and I chose the unread book. I did a smashing job, and now I am doomed to hell.

  9. lostinliterature108

    My last book club meeting was last Saturday. I found out a couple of weeks ago that only one person read the book and I could tell it probably wasn’t going to happen with the rest of them, including me. Since I am the “leader” of the book club I made the executive decision to “can” the book all together, reward the person who read it, and we all brought together Chinese take-out and discussed what we individually had been reading. It was a great time. Now I will say that we try really hard to read what someone picked because doggone it we want everyone to read it when it’s OUR pick. It just so happens that in the last three years or so, that twice we have ditched the book. That’s not so bad.

    AND….I’m 80% on The Stand!

      • lostinliterature108

        I’ve liked it all along….(except for a few parts that you could probably guess) but I really like it now and don’t want to put it down. I’m reading it during the day when I can fit it in and at night til I fall asleep.
        I didn’t think I would review it because it is so long but now I’ve decided I will. It might not be a typical review though, probably more like how it applies to LOST.:)

  10. Leah

    I can’t believe you didn’t read your book club books; what’s wrong with you? I’m totally joking. I’m not in a book club — partly because I don’t know of any book clubs to join and my best bookish friend is going to grad school far far away, but also partly because I just want to read what I want to read; I don’t think I could be bothered reading what someone else picks out!

  11. Ashley

    I am also in 2 book clubs and have one meeting on the 10/20 and the other on 10/21. I have a reputation of always finishing the books selected but I am having some difficulties this month–mostly because I really have no interest in reading one of the books chosen (The Paris Wife by Paula McLain). I broke down and bought the e-book and am like on chapter 3 but can’t seem to find any motivation for a good hard reading session. The other book is Where’d You Go Bernadette which I actually do want to read but feel like I should finish reading the other book first.
    So don’t feel bad–I may not make it through my 2 books either!

    • Words for Worms

      The Paris Wife was pretty good, but it helped that I already thought Hemingway was a jerk… The book certainly doesn’t paint him in a positive light.

  12. Jill

    The Book Club I was in, after 1 year fell apart because of 1 wrong book choice that no one wanted to read. Since then, I read Book Lover Blogs and it meets all my Book Club needs By the way, just finished The Paris Wife (Paula McLain) and enjoyed it far more than expected.

  13. Christi

    In college, I was supposed to read Vanity Fair, and I just couldn’t get past the first 100 pages (it’s about 1000 pages, no joke). I wrote a “close reading” paper of some passage about 75 pages in and still got an A (with lots of help from cliff notes…). I did something similar with Dickens’ Bleak House. The entire first chapter was about fog! A whole chapter! That shouldn’t even be allowed.

    • Words for Worms

      Oh boy, I can’t blame you. Classics can be a tough slog but the ginormous classics? That takes serious dedication that doesn’t often come along with assigned reading!

  14. Daddio

    I’ll never tell! School was so long ago I can’t remember if I I read it all or not. Not really. Since it confession Friday, Cliff Notes were my salvation!

    • Words for Worms

      Pffft. Old Man. You are something else. Too bad when I was struggling through Moby Dick in high school you didn’t admit to your Cliffs Notes usage. I’m sure that was the appropriate Dad thing to do, but grrrrrr.

  15. Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister

    I had a book club last night. I mistakenly took advice last month from a friend about a good book choice, so I offered it as a suggestion for discussion last night. It’s called The Girls From Ames. A non-fiction story about a 40 year old friendship between 11 women. Ummm, written from a man’s perspective. Varied approval, a few really enjoyed it. I left it half way through…I felt back when I showed up with my discussion questions having not followed through with my part of the bargin. LOL…oh well, I tried. You tried. Blue ribbons for us. 🙂

  16. Mary

    If it makes you feel any bit better, guess who read 40% of assigned readings during undergrad? Like, fully read. I may have done some skimming to connect the dots, but let’s be honest: a lot of literature classes basically spell everything out for you during lectures and discussions. Although, I did decide my second semester senior year that I would actually do all the readings… That was an interesting experience.

  17. Sarah Says Read

    I am ashamed right now because I’m probably not going to finish The Passage, and kind of like your reason for that vampire-lemon book – I just don’t wanna. I’m not into it. Ehhhhhh.

    I could totally use my wine to go with my whine… *heads to the fridge*

  18. Book Connection

    I’m not even going to try and read A Prayer for Owen Meany. I do want to ready it but there’s no way I’ll get it sone in time for Book Club (the third Monday of every motnh). Luckily our club isn’t too strict so I won’t get too much clack but I do feel bad. It’s just I have to read so many other books for reviews and book festivals and I need to write my blog and oh well you get the picture. Nice to know I’m not alone.

  19. Don Royster

    I had so much reading to do in college there was just no way to get through it all. I was an English major. Some I would read the first two chapters and the last two to get a sense of the book. Find one of those booknotes thingamajigs and fake it. This was before the internet.

  20. Kristina

    In my high school AP English class, I could not bring myself to read Shakespeare’s Richard II. We read 26 books in that class, and we had already ready five other Shakespeare plays. I like Shakespeare, but come on! So I asked three different people what it was about, got three different answers, and did better on the test than any of those three people! I’m secretly a little proud of that.

  21. Jayne

    Funny you should post this today… my book club is on Monday and I’ve haven’t read the book (and don’t plan to read it before the meeting)! I’m feeling a little guilty about it, but I’ve been REALLY busy the past month and, to be honest, this month’s book really didn’t appeal to me. Typically, though, if my book club picks a book that doesn’t sound great to me I’ll still read it (and I’ve often been pleasantly surprised!), but I think it was the combination of that and my lack of time that just killed it for me this month.

  22. picturemereading

    You know I keep thinking I want to join a book club but then I am all like..but what if I have to read x genre and that will be so painful..and I wuss out LOL

    • Jayne

      My book club is all one specific genre. Maybe you could find one like that? Mine is through Barnes & Noble and I know they have a few different groups that have pretty specific themes.

  23. ReneeWritesNow!

    A friend invited me to join her book club when mine dissolved due to members moving away, entering the work force full time, etc. I haven’t yet figured out WHO chooses the titles to read or WHY certain books are chosen. I dislike those dealing with abused women & children (typically, Oprah’s selections) so I’ll skip those meetings/books. I choose the ones that intrigue me such as this month’s selection, “The End of Your Life Book Club,” by Will Schwalbe. (I’ll be joining the group.) I confess I’ve always been a bit annoyed when someone sashays into a book club meeting and immediately announces, “I didn’t read the book, but I’ll have a glass of wine.” Really?

  24. dancingwithnumbers

    I’m a member of a book club because I need friends, and because the people in the book club are really awesome! But the books are . . . sometimes a bit . . . . challenging. 🙁 The other problem is that we read about one chapter a week. Sometimes, if a person is missing, we reread that week’s chapter again the next week. 🙁 So a non-fiction book with eighteen chapters? Yup. Months and months to finish. I don’t have the patience to *buy* books I don’t know if I’ll like, so I check them out from the library, but then I start to feel bad after renewing a million times, so sometimes I just give the book back. Then, I have to pretend. Especially now, when I haven’t read the chapters since March (and I honestly wasn’t paying that much attention when I read them), and I have to make things up and comment on things that are only distantly related to the topic. 🙁 Am I a horrible person? I’m not sure! My favorite nights are the ones where we get busy talking about each other’s lives and only spend about ten minutes actually talking about the book . . . yeah. Maybe I need something that isn’t a book club! :-/

  25. Yamika

    I can’t be in a book club because a switch in my head goes to snooze whenever I’m told I have to read anything. I skim. My saving grace in school was the fact that I had read all my compulsory reading, two years earlier, when it was my sister’s compulsory reading.

  26. Jennifer Getts

    Have definitely been there! Sometimes life gets in the way! I’m in a book club as well and some of these titles look great as suggestions for upcoming reads; they all look really interesting. You should check out the book we’re reading right now, it’s called “The Children of Gavrilek” by Julie Kirtón Chandler, We’ve all found it to be a fantastic so far! Thanks for the post and for the book suggestions!

  27. A Fresh Tomorrow

    Whew! I did the SAME THING with the Karen Russell book. At the start of the fourth story, I decided to give up. I feel like I didn’t “get” the stories and, honestly, I’m okay with that…

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