I attended my first real book club meeting this past week. We discussed Gone Girl, though we didn't really discuss Gone Girl much at all. That was fine with me. I have all of you to discuss books with and I don't really need a book club to fill that void. It was fun to sit and drink wine and chat about life and gossip about work.
When I voiced my thoughts on Gone Girl, I said that I thought both the husband and the wife were insane and defended my reasons for thinking the guy was just as horrible as the woman. People seemed to think I was really "anti" the guy. (This is true. I was. I was "anti" both main characters in this book.) I said that I don't read books like Gone Girl very often, and then later in conversation said that I hadn't liked the book The Pillars of the Earth, which another girl loved. And then somehow it was decided that I was a book snob.
Then it came time to pick next month's book. I didn't put forward any suggestions, mostly because it was only my second book club meeting and because I was sensitive to being considered a snob. I didn't want to come up with a book suggestion that was completely out of the range of scope. As the conversation continued, I was relieved that I hadn't made any suggestions because I came to realize that almost any book I would have suggested would probably have fallen out of scope.
Someone came up with two suggestions, both non-fiction. Both received a lukewarm reception because many girls just "don't really like non-fiction. Someone else said that she'd be up to read a classic. And that was shot down because people "don't want to read a difficult book." And then there were a few more suggestions, but nothing really was decided.
And this is what bothers me so much. Yes, I'm a book snob. I will most definitely judge you if you tell me that your favorite book is Twilight or that you only read young adult dystopian fiction or that you really like to read light chick lit and nothing else. I'm sorry, that's just the way I am. I will also judge you if you tell me your favorite restaurant is Chipotle. There are some things that matter to me a lot, and food and books are two of them. You have your stuff, too, I'm sure. You can judge me for my horrible taste in music and the amount of time it takes me to see the movies everyone else has already seen and my inability to finish a beer while it's still cold.
Snobbishness exists in many forms. But you know what? I don't think I was the only book snob in that room. If you make such blanket statements as "I don't like non-fiction" or "I don't want to read anything too difficult" or "That book sounds a little too deep for me," then you are a book snob, too. At least I was open enough to try reading something out of my comfort zone. No, I generally don't read thrillers, but I did read the thriller you chose for book club. If you completely rule out all non-fiction (which is as arbitrary as ruling out all books that have red covers),
and then also rule out all classics (which is as arbitrary as ruling out all books that have blue covers), then I am not sure what makes me a snob and you normal. It sounds to me as though you have your own preconceptions that you aren't willing to challenge.
I still don't know what our next book club pick will be. I am pretty sure, though, that I'll attend more for the wine and gossip than for the book discussion. And confine all of my passionate reactions to books for all of you :-)