Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Club...

I work in a bookstore but I don't read fiction. Or at least I didn't until quite recently. I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the world of fiction reading thanks to the relentless efforts of one of my managers. Some months ago, this manager, who runs the Fiction department, decided he wanted to start a book club at the store and wanted me to help him run it.

"But I don't read fiction," I said.

"It doesn't matter. We can choose any books we want to discuss." He stands there with his hand on his hip waving his finger at me, "It's our book club."

And so, I got drawn into hosting a book club. We've read a number of books since the club's inception. And whenever a fiction title is chosen, I try to squirm my way out of it. "I don't read fiction," I tell my manager.

"Doesn't matter. You're still going to attend," he says. Again, with his hand on his hip. And once again, I defer. I don't even know why I'm so easily persuaded by him. Something about his Napoleonic stance casts a spell on me. And so, every month I get drawn into cracking open a book I never thought I'd read. And so, now I'm reading fiction.

This month, the book club choice is another work of fiction, Fault Lines by Nancy Huston, by the way. I'll post another entry about my experience with the book once I've integrated it more fully. I fought reading it. For a whole month, I played the I don't read fiction dance in my head. Why do I put up so much resistance?

And then, not wanting to have to tell the group I didn't even attempt to read the book, or worse, having to bluff my way through the meeting as if I've read the book, which I've done once already, I decided to give the book a go. I knew nothing of its story. I just figured I'd give it a few pages, decide I hate it and then feel completely justified telling the group that I tried.

And then, something happened.

The pages seemed to be turning themselves. I couldn't stop reading. I read all evening, late into the night, got up this morning and finished the book. I read it and I loved it. Loved it. Aside from the works of Paulo Coelho, kids books and the stuff I read in High School, I can't say I've loved a fiction work. But here I was loving this book. Huh.

I wonder what other stuff I can love that I didn't know I could love.

tall penguin

7 comments:

Umlud said...

Gotta agree with you that there's a lot of fiction out there that doesn't speak to me at all (why I read all of it, I don't know)...

However - for some reason - Norse sagas (for a while) were really quite engrossing. Also I'm a sucker for Asimov, even though he wasn't the most elaborate of storytellers, the simplicity of the prose was a refreshing break from the Joyce, Dickens, Austen and (horribly translated) Tolstoy I was forced to read in literature classes.

I've discovered that - to me - the author's voice is what makes it or breaks it for me, especially when reading fiction. For example, reading Pride and Prejudice? I can't move beyond the first page (and not from lack of trying; it would just aggravate me to no end). Watching the various versions of the same? Love 'em.

Perhaps that is why - for me - starting a new fiction author is something that I am loath to do, unless I find myself in a travel situation, bored out of my skull, and pick something by an author I've likely never heard of that isn't (hopefully) too bad. (Usually they aren't "too bad", but also - usually - only good enough to make me distracted from my original boredom.) Strangely, I don't like to read non-fiction during trips.

vanessa said...

P.K.D.

Umlud said...

"P.K.D."

Polycystic Kidney Disease...?

vanessa said...

Philip K. Dick

gene said...

Good going, TP! Maybe you'll want to try Philip Jose Farmer, or fan fiction. :)

tall penguin said...

Thanks for the recommendations, although I haven't fully made the leap into Sci Fi. I will however keep these authors in mind as I explore my reading horizons.

Sparky Thought said...

I have a selected few fiction novels that are easy readers and are characterized by me in the "awesome" section of my home library. We will have to chat about expanding your fiction reading horizons...