Why I'm a Book-Club Dropout

By Linda Yellin
Photograph: Paul Sahre

I recently joined an exclusive book club. As in, only one member. It’s not as if I didn’t try other groups. My first foray was with coworkers who met every two weeks at lunchtime. The discussions consisted of each person’s reading aloud her favorite lines while stopping to check e-mail. Plus, I never had time to finish a book. The Paris Wife? Didn’t make it past the courtship. Three Cups of Tea? Got through only two. Reading became homework. When it was my turn, I picked Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “I loved the kiss at the end,” Margo said. “What kiss?” we all asked at once.

That’s when we realized Margo had simply rented the movie, with its smooching-altered ending. No time-management problems for her!

Next, my neighbor Rhonda invited me to her book club. The group chose the entire year’s list in January. I joined in February. We met the third Tuesday of every month. Except when Rhonda had theater tickets. Then we’d reschedule. “I like everything Oprah likes,” Rhonda told me. Good news for Stedman. “But why are her recommendations always depressing?” Gina asked. “I want to kill myself after each one.”

“Yeah. That Pilot’s Wife got screwed,” Janine said.

“A similar thing happened to my third cousin,” Bonnie told us. A lively debate followed about Bonnie’s cousin, Gina’s ex-husband and Suzi’s job at JetBlue. I wasn’t in a book club. I was in women’s talk therapy. I lasted through November, mainly because of Rhonda’s theme-related refreshments (The Help: black-and-white cookies; Steve Jobs: apples and chips).

My new book club meets whenever I want. I’m usually in pajamas. Under the covers. I get to pick the book. I get to pick the refreshments. And if the discussion isn’t interesting, I just shut off the light and go to sleep.


Originally published in the October 2012 issue of More

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