Monday, November 21, 2011

This Book Club Might Be A Tiny Bit Weird

There was no wine there, and it could have used some.

Earlier today I got an email addressed to the whole book club distribution list, about twenty people. It was from this lady whom I've never met or heard of, and it started out as just a note to let everyone know she wouldn't be at the meeting tonight. Even early in the message, though, I thought we might be riding a Crazy Train, because her explanation for missing the meeting was way too detailed. It's what we call a soft sign.

The hard sign came in the next paragraph, which read:
On a side note:  I'm sure everyone is wondering what happened at my daughter and son in law's home [in our neighborhood] last Monday and I'm aware that someone on [street] is causing alot of issues trying to find out. Please know that none of the neighbors nor their children were in any danger, we were very concerned for my son in law and fortunately everything has turned out well.  All I ask is that if you know someone is asking please ask them to respect my family's privacy as I know you all will. what now?

Hi Neighbor! Of what are you talking? I HAVE NOT THE PLEASURE OF UNDERSTANDING YOU.

The next message in my inbox was from Pretty Neighbor, forwarding me the above message with just a single comment: Why the face? I was all, it's like they WANT me to blog about them.

I'll just say that if her goal was for everyone to respect her family's privacy, this was an odd move, as it immediately caused a dozen people to leap onto the phone trying to scare up some information. I texted my tennis friend T, because she usually knows everything, and all she had was that there were five or six police cars outside this family's house on the day in question, and the wife of the house sitting cross-legged in the street. Pretty Neighbor's theory was Suburban Meth Lab, my theory tends toward Son-in-Law having a psychotic episode. Her saying that the neighbors weren't in any danger makes me think there was a gun involved. It seems clear that there is some episode of human pain and bad stuff behind this, but the way she aired it in this email is ridiculous.

When we got to book club, T opened with, "So what's up with that email?" Nobody had any hard intel, but EVERYONE said, "Why did she send that? None of us knew anything had happened OR were prying into it." Buzz buzz! But I bet they will do some prying now. If I were that woman's daughter (or son-in-law), I would be mortified.

Then there was, like, a book that we discussed, kind of. One of the organizers read aloud some of the questions in the "Readers' Guide" at the end of the paperback edition and people responded to them. I came clean right up front that I'd only read 106 pages of the book and I just couldn't get into it. This didn't seem to be a criterion for exclusion from the meeting. One girl said, "I know we've had meetings where nobody had finished the book." LOL. It sounded like the last half of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet might have been better, though. Sometimes in the discussion there were odd detours into unrelated subjects, but I think this is par for the book club course? It was fine.

I was glad Pretty Neighbor had finished the book, or we would have looked like assholes.

They were all nice ladies, even and especially the two older ladies who could not return my or Pretty Neighbor's calls for months. I enjoyed meeting them, and I enjoyed eating the snacks. Next month is The Red Queen, by that lady who has written a separate novel about every single Tudor, Lancaster, and York, or that's how it seems. Then, for January, I got them to agree to Serena, by Ron Rash. Yay!

Yes y'all, at my first book club meeting, I got a book on the schedule. Thug life.



Aimee said...

Phillipa Gregory? Love her books, even though they are trendy. Do love my historical fiction, though, especially set in Merry Olde England.

Must add Serena to my list, although I'm put off by the Amazon review that hyphenates rattle-snakes.

Sounds like normal book club fodder, yeah, EXCEPT for that email. What the what? Mortified, indeed!!

Amy said...

That email!! Seriously. Do you think she really thought everyone knew, or was she trying to get people talking? Bizarro world!

You have to stay in this book club forever! I'm glad they were nice ladies. Btw, can you post your opinions on how to lead discussions on books? This is your field, after all. I'm starting up a book club at the beginning of next year, so a few pointers would be good. I mean, I don't wanna make it like a senior seminar, but lively discussion would be nice. :)

Amy said...

Also, I enjoy the Phillipa Gregory books! I've learned a lot from them...though that may tell you more about me than the books. I recently read The White Queen--about the wife of Edward IV, and the mother of the princes locked in The Tower--it was fascinating!

delaine said...

Wow, drama in the hood. There is no telling what that was all about. Probably some kind of emotional disturbance rather that meth. Sounds like the book club will be a pleasant group to meet and discuss with. I wonder what they will think of Serena? It's a good, moody,surprising book. I haven't read The Red Queen, but many other Phillipa Gregory books. She's good and the period she writes about is rich. Should be fun. I want to borrow it after you read it.

Michele said...

A book club meeting without wine is a travesty.

AlGalMom said...

Modern Family ftw :)

Maybe attendance at book club has been lagging lately and the email was a hook to make sure everyone would show up at least to gossip about what kind of danger the neighbors and their children weren't in. Zowie.

That reminds me of the time when I was a chemist working for Bayer, and one of our contract labs couldn't finish the study because the FBI had confiscated all of their computers. Apparently the head researcher had murdered her ex husband and shoved his body into a vat of hydrochloric acid intending the hazardous waste truck to come and dispose of the evidence. It is so jarring (and in a macabre way, entertaining) when crazy B-movie plots intrude into real life.

Steve said...

You know, if you were a screen writer and the show was about your hood, I'd arrange my schedule around every episode. I'd be addicted!

Kate said...

I was waiting for this one! You ought to come to my book club if you are looking for wine. We've been known to knock back a bottle a piece, or at least it sometimes seems like it. I got my club to read the Ron Rash novel after hearing about it on your blog. It wasn't a well-attended meeting, but those there seemed to enjoy the treacherous Serena.