The book must be one neither of you have read. If you need a recommendation, browse your nearest physical bookstore, perhaps simultaneously, if you live far from each other, so that you can choose together.
When you hide an entire group of women behind lazy, monolithic, and often inaccurate clichés, you impede the understanding and respect that come when people from different backgrounds get to know one another.
It got worse: The day after I was mugged, he emailed me negative comments he claimed the group made about the book after I left. Apparently the people who really disliked the book were too intimidated by my presence to say so -- at least that's what he reported.
I have become an outlier in my own book club. It's an occupational hazard, I suppose, just the lot of the novelist. While the rest of the club read for entertainment and enlightenment, I'm always teasing out plot inconsistencies and dangling modifiers.
I'm not a member of a book club, so I don't know if it's de rigueur for literary associations to throw back a few cocktails and to unsheath verbal knives at holiday get-togethers. If it is, then I was in the presence of a masterful group of readers.
The time is undoubtedly ripe for the emergence of Slow Reading practices, and I am convinced that as we discipline our minds and adapt to Slow Reading, these changes will ripple throughout every corner of our being.
The goal: present to you, between now and Election Day, single-sitting passages from the classic texts of American democracy. Substantial enough to spark ideas and prod debate; short enough to read on a coffee break.
What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with a novel inspired by a real-life hero who risked her own liberty to ensure America finally made real the ideals illuminated in the Declaration of Independence?
Maybe the boundless intellectual freedom of our country spoils the illicit pleasures of reading something of quality. Maybe the novel is dead. Who is to say that a book is more thought-provoking than a television show?
I've resisted joining a book club. I dread fitting another thing into my schedule. My friend came up with an alternative: The Itsy-Bitsy Book Club. It's just the two of us. It's just one book once a year.
For authors, book club events are complicated and many-layered. The novel might have been a personal agony to write. It might have caused hurt to family or loved ones. But readers don't need to hear all that.