By Charlotte Latvala
Belonging to a book club is a rite of passage akin to going to the prom, landing your first job, or getting that introductory piece of mail from AARP. That’s right; at 50, you are required by law to gather monthly with other 50-year-old people and discuss books that you all hated. Or loved. It doesn’t matter, because after the first two glasses of wine no one much remembers the books anyway.
Here’s how to make the most of this social obligation:
- Choose your co-members carefully. Your book club buddies don’t have to be BFFs, but at least pick people who don’t repulse you. Also, people who can read. Also, people who understand that “reading” means more than “Take this quiz and find out which member of One Direction you are!”
- Pick a book. Don’t select your favorite novel, because invariably one of your fellow readers will complain about it and pick it apart and you will feel like someone knifed you in the heart. Best to go with a bland best-seller that no one feels strongly about.
- Form an opinion. If you can’t, the reviews on Amazon are excellent sources to plagiarize.
- Clean your house. Or, at least, sweep away the debris from the book-club-gathering area. Low lighting is your best friend. Your second best friend is a hairy pet or irresponsible child you can blame for the mess. Your third best friend, if all else fails, is the all-purpose You-Guys-Won’t-Believe-How-Busy-I’ve-Been-This-Week! act.
- Stock up on wine. We at How to be 50 cannot over-emphasize how important this step is. EVEN PATHETIC BOOK CLUBS HAVE WINE. (Sorry for shouting, but it truly is that essential you get this right.) Red, white, pinkish, sparkling – you can mix it up, but you can’t do without it. (One exception: Hm. No, sorry, there is no exception.)
- Select the food. Next, you must have one item from each of the following food groups: Salty, crunchy, and unidentifiable. (A weird-looking cheese, exotic olives, or – even better – an ethnic delicacy involving goats or snakes. Bonus points if said item vaguely alludes to the book you just read.)
- Gently direct the conversation. A successful book club meeting includes: 10% obligatory chit-chat before you dive into the food; 20% book talk; 50% random gossip, chowing down, and wine-guzzling; 20% hanging around to have one more glass of wine long after book club is supposed to have ended.
- Follow these tips and your book club will be a blazing success. Unless you forget the wine.