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No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club March 10, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Reading.
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Some books expand our horizons by taking us far away, in time or space or situation.  Others shed a light on the place where we are. 

One of my favorite recent reads is No!  I Don’t Want to Join A Book Club:  Diary of a 60th Year by Virginia Ironside.  It so happens that several of my friends will turn sixty this year, or in the next year or two.  A few have already done so.  So I do have an interest in this age group.  (The Book Goddess is timeless.  Don’t ask.) 

This novel falls into a category that the British do extremely well:  the humorous fictional diary.  If you liked The Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend or Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, and you’re, let’s say, aware of the passage of time in your life, I think you should hurry up and read this book.

The heroine and narrative voice of this saga is Londoner Marie Sharp, retired art teacher and single mother of a grown son.  As she approaches sixty, she strongly resists the urging of her friends to take up a hobby, enroll in university courses, or learn Italian.  She’s about to become a grandmother, one of her oldest friends seems to be seriously ill, and another has taken up online dating.  These events, along with bunion surgery and renting her spare room to a young French girl, are inspiration for witty, sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant commentary.

I don’t agree with all of her choices, though I think she’s right about bungee jumping (and we even wear the same brand of comfortable shoes).  I, on the other hand, would love to take classes and learn Italian, and you know how I feel about book clubs.  But the important point is that she’s not letting other people tell her how she ought to feel or live or conduct her life, and she tells us about it in a lively and assertive style.  The book is a delight, and I think you will love it, too.

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess

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Comments»

1. Beth - July 28, 2008

Tina: Thanks for organizing the Saturday book discussion group. It is one of the stables in my life.
I think that your comment that she could choose to do nothing with her life as it was her life to live is empowering. The hardest decision when we are not required to be at a job, shop for essentials, and do other required tasks, is to determine what will we choose to do. I am struggling to pick the correct balance for me.
Best always, Beth

2. bookgoddess - August 7, 2008

Beth, thank you for your kind words about the book club. It is certainly one of the best things that ever happened to me, and it would not have happened without the participation and spirit of people like you.


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