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The shocking truth about women’s book clubs

Book Clubs? You think we talk about irony and plot?

Legions of women across America gather monthly, supposedly to discuss the finer points of irony, character development, and plot vs. protagonist. Fortified by gallons of Green tea and petite cookies, they tackle the Classics, bestsellers and the New York Times Review of Books. From the outside, it appears to be an intellectual diversion.

However, here is a dirty little secret: many book clubs are really a covert way to analyze, dissect, and discuss men. Very few clubs will admit to this nefarious charge. Many groups, thinly veiled as passionate about reading, are really all about an underlying desire to talk about men, husbands, boyfriends, lovers, dating, sex, and books on the same subject.

Revelations – Not Just a Book in the Bible

A well-known book group in the Marina district, formed 15 years ago, were devotees of Balzac, Joyce, Goethe, Keats, Flaubert, Yeats and Ibsen. In 2003 they stumbled upon, and raced through the Da Vinci Code –  who didn’t? That was the beginning of the end. Once they tasted the sweet ambrosia of run-away bestsellers, all lofty goals to read great literature and share erudite observations were fini compleat.

En masse, they began to crave and seek out books of a lesser plot. Instant hedonists, they began to dabble in uncharted waters: and did a canon ball into the wide, wacky world of “Chick Lit.” In no time,  the three very prolific and real queens of Chick Lit,  Marian KeyesSophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones fame were elevated to the group’s Literary Royalty and Beach reading books became de rigueur. The once stuffy book group became literary libertines.

Tryst – Like We Did Last Summer

After a steady, frothy diet of light and airy books, the happy hedonists evolved. They began to research  and write about steamy, sexy, destinations and the best places to conduct romantic interludes. They quickly nailed San Francisco, Maui, London, Paris, and New York City.  San Francisco was nominated their Most Romantic City.  The so-called book group’s next foray is a joint effort of co-authoring a risqué ‘bodice ripper’ They are not your mother’s book club or the Jane Austen book club.  However, they are currently looking for a publisher. Stay tuned.

Here’s to the ladies who lunch and bravo to the broads who tap out steamy fantasy for your secret reading enjoyment.

Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.” Charles Scribner

If you liked this Page Larkin column; read Age is a Many Splintered Thing and Great Sumertime Dates- Romance on a Shoestring and   The Sexiest Store in Town: Williams Sonoma

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