Books clubs are an awesome idea. People you find awesome? Books you find awesome? Eating and drinking things that are awesome? Combining all of this into a single evening? Officially too much awesome. But let’s face it—it’s far, far more common for book clubs to implode or, more often, to fade away quietly into the ether, than to last for eons.
I’ve been a member of no fewer than eight hundred book clubs, and all have ultimately failed—except for the one I have with my family, which still functions only because I can’t quietly avoid my family indefinitely. I mean, I could—but then I’d run the risk of having the police knock down my door when I failed to call back my mom after two hours. But we can’t all be lucky enough to be in book clubs with people genetically obligated to not ignore us. Here are 7 likely reasons your book club crashed and burned:
1. Bad snacks. Sure, you can fool yourself into thinking your book club is all about the scintillating conversations, but the long and short of it is, people might come for the Austen, but they stay for the potato skins. A couple of stale saltines will not cut it where a book club is concerned.
2. Netflix. You’ve had that copy of Angela’s Ashes sitting on your nightstand since the day it was chosen. And while this tale of impoverished Irish survivors sounds super-compelling, you’re having a hard time pulling yourself away from the equally compelling prison drama Orange is the New Black. The TV will wait—read the book, dude.
3. Fight club. Your book club didn’t die, it evolved, from a casual, sophisticated get-together, to a bare-knuckled, shin-kicking, shirts-optional brawl. Learning is a critical pursuit—but so is ass-kicking. Chuck Palahniuk would absolutely agree.
4. Technology. It started off as a laid-back discussion on the merits of your NOOK versus the merits of his paperback. It ended with words like “philistine” and “technophobe” being bandied about. Is your book club dead, exactly? No. But its members are no longer on speaking terms.
5. The weather. Everyone had the best of intentions. They did their homework, they bought a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine, they showed up on time with a list of discussion questions. Then, the unthinkable: the host’s home doesn’t have AC. After a few minutes of frantic Google searching, it’s discovered that the book’s film adaptation is playing down the street in a very, very air conditioned theatre. Plans are made to discuss the book AND movie as soon as the temperature is not quite so murder-y in nature.
6. Excellent snacks. There’s a thin line between love and hate. There’s also a thin line between leftover Chex Mix and your grandmother’s famous homemade cheesecake, paired with a strawberry cream sauce. Everyone is all, “I think the protagonist is….I’m sorry, but can we talk about the cheesecake again for just a second? Because I CAN’T EVEN.” Then everyone squeals, more cake is eaten, and the protagonist’s aims are forgotten entirely.
7. Bees. “I’m so glad everyone could make it! I don’t know about you, but I’m having A LOT of feelings in regard to this week’s tex—OH MY GOD THERE ARE BEES, BEES EVERYONE! SAVE YOURSELVES! OH THE BOOK-MANITY! EPI PENS FOR EVERYONE! AHHHHHHH.” Enough said.
Why did your book club break up?