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July 24, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Book Club Operations Manual

I’m still pretty new in this town, but I *may* have found a book club to join (if they have an opening) soon.  I hope it works out.  I miss being in a good book club.  For you male readers; perhaps your significant other belongs to a book club?  I’m sure there are man-book clubs out there somewhere.  I wonder, if there are any, are they anything like the women’s book clubs?

Women’s book clubs usually choose their operating procedures from a few possibilities:

  • We’re going to read everything I say.
  • We each get to pick a book that everyone will read for a month.
  • We’ll pick a bunch of books, and vote on which ones we will read
  • We’ll read whatever the library has available in Book Club Sets.

The logistics of operating a book club open more cans of worms:

  • I’ll host it at my house and you will all bring the food and wine
  • We’ll rotate the host for each book and the host will supply food and drinks
  • We’ll rotate the host for each book but everyone has to bring an appetizer
  • We can meet from 6 – 8 or 8:30 -10:20…or let’s just say 7 to 9? 

They often follow a standard itinerary:

  • Arrive at Host of The Month’s home (5 minutes)
  • Snack on hostess-supplied appetizers, sip wine and/or other beverages , wait for everyone else to arrive (10 minutes)
  • Now that everyone is present, abstain from snacking.  Unless it’s a celery stick or a hummus-filled endive leaf…then go easy.
  • Engage in light chit-chat about PTA members, spouses, or other book club members that had the misfortune to miss the meeting.  Offer plenty of advice to each other on what you would do in the same situation.  Chuckle.  Sip. ( 1.5 hours)
  • Gather in freshly-tidied living area for discussion on book (15 minutes)

I kid, I kid.  A little.  Then I re-read that and it sounded pretty accurate the second time through.  I belonged to a book club in Colorado for a few years.  The gals were great.  We had our moments, of course.  Some of the standard practices of the book club I didn’t care for, and would be wary of in a new book club.  For example, twice a year the book club would have “Spouses Night.”  One took place in summer for a BBQ; the other was a Christmas meeting.  This practice bothered me for a few reasons.  First off, a couple of the great gals in the club were (recently) without spouses.  So can we just knock “Spouse” of the title?  Maybe say “Bring a Friend” if your concern was making sure everyone looked attached?  But it was insisted upon that it was “Spouses Night.”  The expectation was that the men were supposed to read the book of the month and come join the discussion.  The women went out of their way to choose a book that a man would actually read.  Still most of the women couldnt convince their men to read, so they just didn’t show up at all.  I think this would have been more successful if they would have just called it a BBQ or a Dinner and left out the reading requirement for the month.

And then there was…the Book Club Incident.  I quit the book club soon after the Book Club Incident took place.  The Book Club Incident sounds like a good topic for tomorrow, no?

I know there are a lot of men who read books.  I see them all the time in book stores.  And I’m not counting the young ones in the Manga section, either.  I don’t know that they have the same inner desire to come together and share opinions and ideas of a really good book though. 

Are there any man book clubs out there?  What would a man book club itinerary look like? 

  • Arrive an hour early, tell wife it’s because you’re running errands beforehand (1 hour)
  • Deposit six pack of beer amidst piles of six packs already forming in coolers.  Grab cold beer from bottom (10 min)
  • Toss book casually onto table, grab remote (5 minutes)
  • Watch the game, consume beer (3 hours)
  • Call wife for ride home (10 minutes


Leave a Comment
  1. bluesuit12 / Jul 25 2008 6:23 am

    I’ve never been in a book club but you perfectly nailed my imagination of what one is. I’m very anxious to read about this incident you speak of!

  2. Allison / Jul 25 2008 4:37 am

    I have heard about book clubs, but I didn’t actually know that they existed. I like the concept though. I seriously doubt my town has any good book clubs. I’m basing this solely on the fact that I’ve never heard of one (especially not a man one). This might not be very fair.

    I will patiently await The Incident.

    Well you could always start one…just don’t be like The Organizer. Not that you ever would…my goodness.

  3. pikespeakdenise / Jul 24 2008 5:02 pm

    Yes, you basically nailed our book club. lol I like the sound of the male club better! 😉

    Wait, too much alcohol is how TMI happens…

    I’m not sure if I want to hear about the book club incident. Actually, I DO want to hear your side of the book club incident, I’m just not sure I want to read about it publicly. I have read what you write about blood family members. 😮

    Hope you get into the book club there! I’m enjoying our Bring-a-Boy BBQ selection for next month. Clapton’s autobiography. While Michael read that first, I read Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd. Now I’m on to Clapton. The whole rock ‘n roll scene is something in which I had no insight. A topic I didn’t know I didn’t know anything about. And said co-ed book club selection is not about climbing anything. Bonus!

    Oh no worries. I’m certainly not naming names. I wouldn’t say it’s “my side” as I wasn’t even directly involved. I won’t even publish the e-mail trail that occurred…that would be wrong. But feel free to skip tomorrow’s post! P.S. Mother in laws are certainly not “blood family” to everyone. Besides, she *disowned* us. So technically we aren’t related.

  4. Carli / Jul 24 2008 4:26 pm

    How about adding the latest issue of Low Rider Magazine to next months reading list…or perhaps the Bible? I hear they’re just flying off the shelves at Barnes and Noble!

  5. morethananelectrician / Jul 24 2008 10:48 am


    Are those “like” magazines?

    When I was single and no-kids, reading was a great way to spend the weekend. Now people are thorwing up everywhere and I am breaking up skirmishes. Reading is the one thing that has suffered in the last eight years.

    If I remember correctly, they are like magazines except more ex$pen$ive. That’s another reason I could use a good book club…it might get me reading again!

  6. steppingoverthejunk / Jul 24 2008 8:36 am

    I was in a bookclub years ago. the problem was, we all went and ate dessert and talked but NO ONE ever read the whole book. So we turned it into a dinner club instead. Eating and catching up. Screw the book. Heh.

    Dinner club…now there’s a tasty idea.

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