The Cork Board

Wine, women and words……


A couple of months ago Fi and I were asked if we would like to join a new book club in the village. Apparently, there is already a book club in the village but the waiting list (?) to join is so long it has become something of a secret sect. Thus another group has formed. We meet every 4 to 6 weeks in someone’s house and discuss the nominated book and drink and eat nibbles –  a very convivial evening. Whoever hosts the evening gets to pick the next book for discussion. We hosted last time so I rather railroaded the book choice (sorry, Fi) this time around. “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck.

Cannery Row c .1920

Being a huge Steinbeck fan I’d read it before, years ago, and fancied reading it again. Now, I have to be careful here, but the make-up of the group is 7 women and me, (maybe the blokes around here don’t read novels) and I have harboured a little concern that the book choices might be wall-to-wall Ruth Rendell. I know I’m digging a hole – but wait.

Curled up on sofas and floors we sat and drank wine, nibbled and discussed the book. It was clear that we had all enjoyed the book, which pleased me (given that it’s a favourite), but what surprised me was that out of the discussion came an appreciation of the book which was broader than my original thoughts about it. So much more is contained within its pages than I had appreciated and, my point is, this came out as a result of the discussion.

I’ve always said that I’m not the sort of person who joins “clubs”. One of my favourite quotes is by Groucho Marx ……  “I won’t join any club that will have me.”

Groucho........................a hero.

But there you go, I’m in a club (but I’m not wearing any badges. I am an individual).

News of our group is getting around the village and it has been described as “just a group of women needing an excuse to drink wine and chat” . I don’t think the dissenters know about me. But what can be better than sitting around with a group of friends, drinking wine, and chatting about books? (Just so long as it’s not wall-to-wall Ruth Rendell !)

19 thoughts on “Wine, women and words……

  1. Jane is also member of a long running book group. I suggested she propose “For Whom The Bells Toll” by Hemingway which was duly selected. It was universally detested (various reasons – archane, too long winded, too “masculine” etc) and so, I now keep my opinions/suggestions to myself and let them carry on reading the Observer top 100 (which i’m sure is very “worthy”). Kids today!!

    1. Haha, good comment. I enjoy the company in the book group but I am cautious of a little bias (Fi says I never read women authors……….unfortunately, largely true) so I made an early pitch for a quality benchmark. I did expect a good round spanking for my choice but it seems to have gone down okay. The next book is “One Day” by David Nicholls- the cover of which has an effusive promotional quote from Tony Parsons – (sigh)

  2. Recently i read a book by Matthew Reilly… Its been a while since i stopped reading a real book… (By real i mean the one i can hold in my hands n flip the pages n not just scroll down every page( i loose interest that way) n not just any magazine… There’s nothing like reading a book n getting lost in it… I was on a reading spree when i just completed school… Used to read atleast 2 books per day… Not hard when that was the only thing to do n the library was nearby…:) Less than a decade now n ive completely lost interest… Would be more than happy if somebody started a reading club here… Nice post though… Have a great weekend…

  3. Hi, Ms.Sunshine, wow – 2 books a day down to zero. It’s a shame you’ve lost interest. Why not read our next book and let me have your thoughts. You can become a cyber member of our group. 🙂

  4. How fun! Not only do you get to sit among the women in the group, but you can hear how we ‘think’, eat and drink, chitchat and gossip. Love it. I’d love to organize a book club here in my town, but sadly not many people read. When Ive gone into town with my doorstopper of a book, people just gaze at me with their chins to the ground in amazement. One for why someone would carry around a 5lb book. Two they are amzed at the number of pages, this is a question I always get. “Quanti pagine? How many pages?” When I tell them “Oh about a thousand.” They seriously go into freakout mode. Hyper-ventilating..etc. Anyhoo. Thanks for stopping by and comenting. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jennifer, you are right, the conversation does occassionally stray into the “what is it with men? ” area but I’ve not been asked to justify my species yet. No doubt it will happen. 🙂

  5. I’m not quite sure how I’d do in a book club, but in theory — awesome! There isn’t anything that could draw me in more swiftly than the prospect of differing points of view, surrounding an awesome focal point such as a book, being shared, discussed, and fleshed out.
    Still, i feel like i should “Good luck being the only man in the group” you, but i wont — somehow i know you’ll be just fine 🙂
    Typically how long do you’ll have to read the book?

    1. I know what you mean, Jared. I was a bit sceptical too since I can be opinionated enough about what I like but the invitation to join was a kind and open sort to give us the opportunity to meet more people in our new surroundings. Also, life is short enough to read what I want to read without feeling obliged to wade through someone else’s choice. So far it’s been fun in the spirit that it was intended. We normally get about 4 to 6 weeks to read the book which I think is okay. That way, a) we’re not gonna get sick hearing of everyone else’s opinions and b) we can read other stuff. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. How’s the acting going?

      1. Lately i feel like my acting career is like Santa Claus — and we all know that “There ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause”. ~ G.M.
        Still plugging away, but wishing for some changes in my industry — no one seems able to handle the paradigm shift that the internet caused, and Cali has a horrid economy as of now, and they typically dictate the pace of goings on with us.
        4-6 weeks is perfect for a time-frame, get it done one weekend, do what you like for 4 more, and now a treat comes your way via some good wine, good company, and good conversation.
        Why it is that my 30somehting group of friends insists still that spending boatloads of cash at a bar is what constitutes a “Good night with friends”, one of the great mysteries of life i suppose 🙂

      2. It’s a phase. It’ll pass. We’ve all been there. Keep plugging away at the job though……and you’re on the button with the “Sanity Clause” quote – one of my favourites too.

  6. I was in a writing group and we read stuff (examples) and then discussed. It’s so true your appreciation of writing is expanded through discussion with other people. Especially with dense writing. We all pick up on different things, and sharing those thoughts sure expanded my understanding of what we’d read. I feel sure it would be the same in a book club. Good for you suggesting a classic. Nothing wrong with reading them, and even though I am a woman I’d be very bored reading the same types of books over and over. A little variety in my reading is something I enjoy, and it sounds like your book club did, too.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Julee. Your remark about dense writing is spot on. Several of our group last night commented that whilst the book is deceptively easy to read each sentence is packed with information and, for a short book, there is so much in it as a result. Great writing – you can’t beat it. They are classics for a reason.

    1. That’s true, Munira. “Grapes” is a pretty depressing book, but I guess given that it’s subject matter was pretty depressing it was going to be. Fortunately, not all his books are so low – “Cannery Row” is about a group of misfits who’s only worry in life appears to be how to fund the next party. 🙂

  7. I hope you’ll consider my new book! It’s non-fiction, short and lively, about my job working retail — at 50 after losing my fancy NY newspaper job. It’s being compared to Nickeled and Dimed, another book focused on low-wage American labor.

    http://malledthebook.com/

    I’d be happy to do a Q and A or answer people’s questions. The most fun of being an author is having people read and have questions or responses to the work.

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