Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Not Making the Book Club Finish Line

I have a confession to make: I’m not going to finish my book club book this month. It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last. The worst part is that I’m the facilitator and should finish the book since I’m the leader and all that. I feel like I’m letting the group down but even if I stayed up all night, I know I still couldn’t finish it. Yes, my fellow Wonderland Book Clubbers, Alice did the best she could, but I didn't make it.

I long for the days six years ago when I’d finish my book club selections months ahead of schedule. Back then when my son was a baby I had more time since I wasn’t working and I wasn’t in grad school. Even while I was in grad school, I still finished my books of the month. That was because I’d have a whole day to read these books – a whole chunk of hours devoted to digesting the plot, theme, symbols and character motivations. I could experience the plot turns and twists and not have any random spoilers hit me on book club day.

Ahh, it was lovely.

Nowadays, I don’t have a whole day to read unless I cram on a Sunday like I did a week ago when I was invited to my friend’s book club as a guest facilitator. I had to finish the book, or it would have been embarrassment all around. Because I had to finish that book, I lost time on finishing my book club book this week. I also had four editing projects the week before. Yes, I know. Excuses, excuses.

Not only do I need to read for book club, I have to read for my book reviews, too. I also read in the car and always have my “to read” book in my tote bag so I can consume a few pages while waiting in the carpool line or at the bank. Since I’m not given any time to read, I have to take my reading time by force. If you happen upon me at the Y, you’ll probably me find me working out on the Stairmaster or the stationary bike with my book.

Because of all the books I’ve had to read efficiently, I’ve learned that I can read about 100 pages in two hours, depending upon the font size and reading difficulty, of course. I’ve learned not to read in bed or on the couch at night – too easy to fall asleep. Instead, I sit at the dining room or in my husband’s office in a straight-backed chair. I’ve sacrificed many nights of sleep to finish books, getting a few hours of sleep from 1-3 am and then witnessing the dawn. It’s a good clue that it’s time to lie down when the words jumble up and I start dreaming the words and sentences.

But you have to know that I do envy the folks who have finished their book club books way before the discussion. Good for them! I don’t like to be defeated by a book, but sometimes I know I must concede defeat. I know that I’m only human and that there’s only so much I can get done in a given day. And I want you to know that I’ll finish that darn book, even if it’s a few days after book club.
OK, so what about you? Have you ever shown up at book club without having finished the whole book? Did you admit it to the others?

1 comment:

Elisa said...

It just happened to me, Alice! Not only did I not even come close to finishing the book, but forgot to check my datebook and missed the meeting! So I suppose that worked well... Even if I had gone, there's no way I would've been able to pretend that I'd read it, and I'd be totally embarrassed to admit that I hadn't.

I'm hoping to do better next month, but I have no idea what'll happen once school resumes.

I, too, envy those who can finish books on time, way ahead of schedule. Promoting my own book takes time away from reading others, but I can think of worse ways to make a living. :)

Great post!