I met with the new-to-me book club last night. I found out when I got there and was chatting up some of the members, that the club has been meeting for four years now. Impressive, eh? Perhaps one of the keys to its longevity is that they meet every six weeks as opposed to every month. I know I felt stifled, back in the day, at having 1/4 of my reading decided for me each month (as I tend to read 4-5 books per month). Somehow six weeks seems so much airier.
We had about fifteen participants, and our hostess for the night took the opportunity to introduce me to everyone straight away. Next, we moved on to deciding the book for the next meeting. "This is where we always run into trouble," someone said. They asked for any books I might recommend.
In a hazy fit of deer in the headlights hysteria--and thinking someone else would suggest a title once they got the niceties of letting me pitch an idea out of the way--I took a blind shot in the dark and pulled a suggestion out of my behind.
"What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt!!" I exclaimed. Following up with a short blurb that it's "about the New York art scene, a family drama, and it sort of unravels into a thriller." They were intrigued.
Now the pressure is on. Really on. A brand new group of people and I suggested one of my favorite novels that also happens to be a very psychologically twisty, intense, sometimes obscure novel. I have to have faith that these are not "nice only" book club readers. I might've shot myself in the foot right off. I like to think What I Loved is very discussable whether one actually likes it or not. There's a ton of food for thought, and I've never had a problem recommending it before, but this is not my usual crowd of readers. And they're face to face! If they rant and rave in distaste and horror, I'll have to watch it instead of simply reading it from behind the safety of my monitor. I might offend them. I might scare them. They might never take another suggestion from me again!
I'm overreacting, certainly, but there is still some iota of pressure to perform. Plus, I'm leading the discussion.
If nothing else, maybe I can get them all liquored up on too much wine before the discussion. Then I'm home free.