Sometimes it takes longer than it should to learn things about yourself.
It took me too long to figure out that I simply can’t force myself to read something that isn’t holding my attention in that moment, which means when I attempted to be a member of a book club, I didn’t read many of the books. Some of them were books that I knew I might like at some other time, but simply couldn’t focus on right then. But learning that was important because it meant I stopped even trying to join book clubs.
Assigned reading is not my thing and never has been, especially in school. Without a grade on the line? Fuggedaboutit.
So, I just joined a book club.
I saw on twitter that Kate Elliott and Justine Larbalestier were having a book club, and the first book was Valley of the Dolls. My gosh, the first dirty book I ever read! And somehow I missed it–missed the chance to reread and talk about it, because that discussion is over. [Going back and reading those comments, it seems I’m the only woman who admits to most closely identifying with Neeley. Ooops.]
But it’s not too late to join the Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club. Their next book is The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. I don’t recall ever hearing about it, but they assured me it’s equally intriguing [I wonder if that means it’s a dirty book, too] and so I downloaded the sample, and yes, I’m hooked. Bought it, and intend to finish it in time to discuss on Kate’s blog. It has been called the ‘original Chick-Lit.’
Why this particular subject, this particular club? Well, their reason is:
We’re both curious about the whole idea of the publishing category of “women’s fiction.” Particularly how and when that label started. And, of course, we also wanted to see how well the bestselling and most long lasting of the books with that label stand up. Because usually books like Valley of the Dolls (1966) and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything (1958) and Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place (1958) are considered to be, at best, middle brow. Yet now some of these books are being taught in university and they’re all back in print or have remained in print.
And reading the Valley of the Dolls discussion sealed the deal for me.
So if you want to join in, go here. The discussion will be on Kate’s blog on April 28/29 (Monday evening April 28 in USA and Tuesday afternoon April 29 in Oz)
Do you join book clubs? Do you mind reading assigned books?