Last Friday, I put on my glasses and knee length socks and walked for 30 minutes to meet a group of bookworms called the Flips Flipping Pages. The place served board games, my favorite curry tonkatsu with squeals and excited shrills completing the general ambience. It was a young place, the night as well. I’m not sure how old most of the Flippers were, book veterans, but my opinion is that reading have made their minds pliant – more than I can for some of the younger people I know.
For most of my reading life – the activity had never taken a communal turn until now. Sure there’s the occasional International Pratchett group online where I met some of the more widely read, funniest, kind hearted and wittiest bastards I might now have enough passport pages to meet but being in the same room as book people is a step forward in my scant social skills.
I brought a Pratchett book for the show and tell (part of the night’s program). Looking back, I should’ve chosen a different one. I don’t know. They kept asking what else I read – science fiction, fantasy, others, I kept saying. That’s not to say that they were book snobs, far from it. A Terry Pratchett book is hard to communicate. Describing the plots always sounds silly. I don’t think I was eloquent enough to be brilliantly silly. I tried. And then we got to talking about Neil Gaiman and you know what I think about Neil Gaiman.
But I enjoyed the eclectic group and their diverse taste in books. One shared her love for erotic literature. Another shared enthusiasm for a new fantasy series I’ve never heard before (that’s what I get from getting cooped up in my room). One of us was reading a book set in Paris, somewhere a book shop was involved. An agent from Penguin in our midst tells us any book with Paris and book shop in the title was sure to sell. I bookmarked this idea. No one’s challenged my reading habits before. By the end of the night, I was richer. I felt full, not because I ate curry and drank a couple of beer and followed up with whiskey (which tells a whole different story of that night, or morning).
I felt included. I saw more nights like this in my immediate future and I’m filled with so much love for all the undiscovered inner worlds I’d discover inside every reader I will meet there. I wonder if all book clubs are like this.
Tell me your book club experience.