Thursday, August 03, 2006

my new book group and other things

As promised, I still have many many pictures from Italy to post here, but for now I'm going to write a regular post about this and that...stuff going on in the past few weeks. At the persistent request of my anonymous reader in Cincinnati, I'm now going to tell about the first meeting of the book club I organized. (By the way, Anonymous, I think I'm going to start calling you Ann for short, since I don't have a real name for you as of yet, even though you enjoy to read and comment on my blog. ;) I'm glad for that; I just wish I knew who you are!)

So anyway, last week was my first book club meeting. I started to put this club together as soon as I started at Starbucks because 1) there is ZERO intellectual/literary/creative life where I live right now, and I'm dying because of it. I figured that if I can't find it, I'm going to do my best to plant the seeds and create it myself. As I've said here before, if it works out, I'm next going to create an open-mic thing at my starbucks as well. 2) it's a great way for me to show my boss that I'm serious about digging my heels in and creating an awesome store here, one that is a little different from all the others and that works with the community in its own unique way. Might sound cheesy, I know, but I'm serious about it and about moving up in this job. And 3) it's just something fun to do with my time and a great way to continue meeting people---though that is connected to my first reason for starting the club.

Well, after I posted the notice on the bulletin board at the store and a couple other starbucks, I started to hear from lots of interested people about it, and we set the first meeting for last Wednesday. I choose the first book blindly, based on reviews and awards it was nominated for: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. Turned out to be an awesome books, which I recommend to anyone. It switches point of view and moves around in time and geography, but it ultimately all comes together at the end. It's heartbreaking and freaking hilarious at once. Read it.

Once I discovered how good the book is, I became super excited for our first meeting, because I couldn't wait to discuss it with people and learn what they all thought of it. Unfortunately, most of them did not like it very well. There were 6 people, including myself, and the consensus was that it's "confusing" and a little "boring" which totally blows me away, as there wasn't a boring moment in my read and I found nothing to be confusing, once you grasped the alternating patterns between narrators. I wasn't the slightest bit dismayed that the other readers didn't like it; that's their own opinion. However, I was a little disappointed at why they didn't like it.

But, not to sound too elitist, I have to remind myself that this isn't a graduate literature course, and the purpose is to have fun and get people together and give them a place to talk about books. And that's exactly what happened last week. We still had a decent discussion, and most encouragingly, despite the common opinion of the book, everyone was very excited to be there and to be "founding members" of the group. That made me so happy.

So after our discussion of the book, we covered some logistics, settling on a standing monthly day and time for the meetings, as well as a system for choosing each book. Next, we're reading a Confederacy of Dunces, which I have been told many many times to read and never got around to. I started it today and it's killing me.

I look forward to a fabulous meeting at the end of this month, since I suspect this book will have a better reception, and also because I have heard from a handful of additional people who want to be part of the group. So we should have a more robust discussion, which excites me.

And then after our meeting last week, I went straight to a friend's house in Fort Lauderdale, as we had plans to hit one of the bars down there that I kept hearing about. We had a fabulous time, perhaps too good a time. As I mentioned in my brief post the next day, I drank way too much and had a rough next day because of it. However, it was worth it. This was a great club, and I had lots of fun with Roni and her friend George, who I met that night. The problem, though, is that Roni likes to buy jager bombs for people. Lots and lots of them. And I kept accepting them. But then at one point, I got very serious and responsible and said "no more jager bombs for me." I thought I'd downshift a tad and do a straight shot of jager instead, stupidly, drunkenly believing it was the less intoxicating choice (because of course, it's the Red Bull in jager bombs that causes all the problems, right?). Really, I know better, but when you've been drinking like that, all reason and common sense go running away. I stayed in Lauderdale that night because there was no way I could drive home in that condition. I was so ridiculously hung-over in the morning, and the worst part was that I was so hungry, even though most food sounded repugnant. And then I was struck with a thought: pepperoni-pizza flavored combos. I HAD to have them. They sounded so good, so I got some and it was all I could keep down all day. Unfortunately, I had to work that afternoon.

I've been back down to Lauderdale a couple times since then, and it seems to be a horrible influence on me, as I repeatedly end up drinking too much and staying out way too late. On the other hand, I have found much more interesting people and places there than here in West Palm. And it's not that long a drive. Maybe 30 to 40 minutes from work.

Maybe I'm too old for it, but I really don't care. If I had kids or even a spouse, it would be a different story, but I don't. I'm having fun, and that was sort of one of my reasons for moving down here: to stop taking everything so seriously to the point of constant stress, depression, and worry.

Well, anyway, that's been my existence since coming home from vacation. Reading group, work, and too much drinking.

Also, I got a whole bunch of my hair cut off yesterday. It was getting unmanageably long, so I had it cut to my jaw. Bob length. It's a good length for me and has always been my default haircut, when I just don't know what else to do with it. I think I'm pretty happy with it. If nothing else, I'm happy for a change in appearance. Gotta do that once in a while. I'll get a new picture up here when I get a chance to have someone take one of me.

Ok, I'm going to gather some more Italy pics and throw some up here. I realized that I still have so many I want to show people.


At August 19, 2006 10:13 AM, Blogger Nicholas Borelli said...

May I suggest my novel for your reading group? It is available as a very inexpensive eBook at The full first chapter is excerpted there and you can determine if you would like to read on. In addition my bio and a discussion of my other novels is also there. You may eMail me from or link to my blog, where you can read my other writings and comment as well.

Thank you and regards,

Nicholas Borelli


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