Monday, 26 June 2017

Memos, mail and me

Was it Groucho Marx who said they didn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member?  

Well, that's what came to mind when I saw that Julie and Ruth had serendipitously found themselves in possession of the same, unusual, book.  As often happens in blog-land, one thing leads to another and then all of a sudden the 'Sanditon-along' book club is born.

Now, I've always fancied joining a book club.  I like the idea of seeing how other people may interpret the same novel.  But years of A Level English Literature made me a bit dubious in case the analysis became a bit deeper than I expected.  I remember having to write an essay on why D H Lawrence chose particular flowers in Sons and Lovers.  I also remember thinking that he possibly just looked out of his window and chose things he could see in his garden.  How was I going to turn that into something meaningful that would fill 4 sides of A4 paper?  No, let's think of why he may have chosen sunflowers over delphiniums.

Then someone I worked with had a book published.  After years and years of submitting novels to publishers, suddenly she had an offer to publish two books.  Then two more and needless to say, she no longer sits next to me in the office doing the administration of work experience for Year 10s, she's busy being wined and dined in fancy restaurants and slaving over a hot laptop on her next best seller.  One of the things she has to do before the publication date is to go through a series of questions that book clubs may discuss.  Now, she'd never been part of a book club, and neither had I so I was of no help to her and she had to ask her publishers what kind of things people may want to know.  It was a bit of an eye opener, and you suddenly realise that readers may put a lot more importance on things that were just chosen on a whim!

So yes, I had considered joining a book club; I love reading, and in fact they started one at the school in which I work.  That would be handy.  I'd know everyone there, it would be hosted in a place I knew, nothing too scary there.  And I was on the verge of saying 'yes, I want to join' when I discovered that the other club members included the head of the English faculty, an ex-teacher of English, the Head's PA and an ex-Deputy Head.  Scary flashbacks of being picked on in class to answer questions on Joseph Conrad's 'Nostromo' came back.  Scary because after a couple of chapters I decided I didn't like the book, so I hadn't read the book, and my only knowledge of it came from a revision booklet I'd found in the library. 

But then I saw Julie and Ruth's blog posts and it seemed an interesting book.  Half written by Jane Austen and finished by 'Another Lady'.  Now, Julie and Ruth don't seem to be the kind of people who would pick on me in class, and unlike Nostromo, it seemed like the kind of book I might enjoy reading and it would be interesting to see if the 'other lady' managed to seamlessly finish the book.  

A quick visit to the internet found that it was possible to find a second hand copy and I ordered one before I had chance to change my mind.  The photo on the web page showed a different cover to that which the others had found but I ordered it just the same, hoping that the ending in that edition would be the same as it was in theirs, so was very surprised when this arrived ...
Exactly the same edition.  You see, some things are just meant to be!

So that's me sorted then.  How about you?  Are you going to join in?  My only problem at the moment is not opening it properly and starting to read before the start date of 1 July.  Not long to go ...

7 comments:

Ruth said...

Welcome to the club! You might be interested to know that I've been having the self same doubts about offering a 'sensible' opinion, instead of simply confessing that I either thought it was "good" or "rubbish" ... and what if I have to admit that I didn't finish it ...
See? You are not alone!
You might also be interested to know that I was badly scarred by having to read Thomas Hardy's The Trumpet Major for O Level English Lit, a novel that hadn't been a set book for over 30 years, because of its difficulty.

Patio Postcards said...

Lucky you finding a copy of our first book club's choice so readily. I am having trouble sourcing out this book ...

Ah book reports over book reviews, yes another one of those school related struggles.

Happy reading & happy week ahead.

Leslie Clingan said...

I believe there are no coincidences in this world. You were meant to find the book and join the book club or vice versa.

Enjoy!

Barbara Eads said...

I love book clubs! I've started two in my life---both are still going strong with one being 25 years old now! I'd say the single thing I like the most about a book club is that it exposes me to books I might never had chosen for myself. I'm going to look up Sandition and add it to my library list. I'm tempted to join this club, but I have so many books from the library right now that I'm not sure I can work it in. I'll know better by the end of the week. Thanks for this post!

Julie Kirk said...

Now you've made me worry ... I hadn't even thought of preparing book club questions! But I can confirm that - indeed - I would NOT have picked on you in class!

I've only been in one book club - but have picked apart plenty of texts for my English degree. (I've *literally* picked apart many more books since then ... but that's another story!)

I don't think I'll be taking a rigorously literary criticism approach to this one though ... a bit of light reading, some gentle character enjoyment, some pondering about the other lady ... sharing a few thoughts with online friends ... that should just about do it I reckon.

Not long to go now! xx

BTW: I love how they sent you a different edition to the one in the photo ... feels like a secret society ...

Alison said...

I have just extricated myself from a book club I joined here just a few months ago.....it really turned out not to be my thing at all...very serious and one particularly elderly lady kept referring to me as 'that lady' when she was telling everyone that she didn't agree with a thing I said! I'm certain this one will be much nicer!! Xx

alexa said...

Hoping that it'll be a gentler experience for everyone - you'll be among friends here :). Interesting how many of us carry scars from childhood/teenage years that still tingle when touched.