Bookish Discussion: Book Club


After many years of hand-wringing and searching, I finally joined (more precisely, I was invited to join) an actual book club. Like one where people meet up in person. It’s true that I did join the Rumpus Book Club late last year. That has been a good experience for me overall in that it has exposed me to books that I probably would not have easily come across before. But it’s also mostly online and therefore easy for me to lapse into my solitary ways and just not engage. Bad habits die hard.

Last night, my book club experience finally got me out of my proverbial shell. The stupid thing is: I don’t think I’m a terribly shy person. I will say that I make acquaintances fairly easily. Friends…well that’s another story. To be part of a book club, I imagined that it would be something between acquaintances and close friends…and that always kind of scared me. Mostly because I would see them on a regular basis, and so I couldn’t get away with holding everyone at arm’s length for longer than a couple of months. Eventually, they would get to know me fairly well.

Whenever I would think about that prospect of new people getting to know me, my mind would be flooded with variations of “what-ifs”. Would I be funny enough? Will I have enough outside interests in common to participate in the social aspect of a book club? Will I be able to discuss the book intelligently enough to not look or sound stupid? What do you even wear to a book club meeting? What if I have a bad hair day? What if I’m not cool enough? What if I’m not nerdy enough? Well read enough?…et cetera, et cetera.

I know, it sounds exhausting in my head right now, doesn’t it? Also – my apologies to my book club who might be reading this. I’m taking a huge leap of faith by putting this out there.

I am just relieved to discover that I had no reason to be so afraid. I’m reminded of a part of Jenny Lawson’s book, where she discusses going on a spa weekend with some fellow bloggers that she hadn’t met before. How she was unsure about being friends with women, harboring a rather unfounded fear of being judged and ridiculed when she wasn’t looking. She ended up having a lovely time with them and decided that women were “worth [her] trust and time” and that she didn’t have to be afraid to make new friends. I really related to that. To be clear though, my fear stemmed from possibly just not fitting in, while Jenny’s fear was based on a general distrust of women.

It’s a funny thing to be in your mid-thirties and feel like you’re the new kid all over again. Vulnerability can scare the bejeebus out of you, but only if you let it. I am glad that I didn’t let it scare me this time.

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  1. (I feel like a huge stalker!!) This was only my second month at the book club, I’ve always wanted to join one and was thrilled to be invited! I showed up last month and before I even sat down admitted that I didn’t read the book. I think I’m definitely cut out for laid-back clubs where you don’t even have to do the one thing why you are meeting. I was happy to have read this months book and add to the conversation, but I’m content to just eat sweets and have some time out of the house!! :)

    • Katy! Thanks for the lovely comment. You’re not a stalker…at least I don’t think so. :)

      I was so nervous last night, and I was happy that nobody cared that I basically finished the book as I was leaving the house. I was just hell-bent on not showing up the first month having not finished the book. Now I know I didn’t have to worry about it if I hadn’t finished the book…not that I’ll make that a habit or anything. :)

  2. Somehow I read this first as though Jenny Lawson had written it (the link from FB scrolled down, so I didn’t see the header).

    I applaud you for showing up. Half the people there last night were kind of new (just within the last few months), but the other three of us have known each other for a few years. I was worried you might feel shy and not talk, but you quickly put that fear to rest. :-)

    On to next month’s book selection…

  3. thank you so much for following my blog!!! hope to see you book club soon. :-)

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