You know who you are.
As a bona fide bookworm, I’ve participated in many book clubs. I’ve been in book clubs with friends, of course. And I’ve been in book clubs with colleagues, which gave us something to discuss other than the way the copier leaves weird streaks on everything. I’ve been in a book club with several other couples (the only downside is that it takes longer for two people to take turns reading one copy of a book). My neighbor recently invited me to another book club, and I’m looking forward to meeting the like-minded book lovers on my street.
Fellow book club members are the best—after all, they share your love of a good book and can’t wait to discuss it with you. Not to mention, there are usually snacks and drinks and a chance to catch up on non-book topics. No matter what book club you’re in, though, some of the same types of people are bound to show up. Just call them Book Club Archetypes.
Here, some you'll certainly recognize—for better or for worse.
She admits she didn’t read the book but shows up anyway. She didn’t read it! What’s she going to say or do?! What’s the point?
She has very strong opinions about the book and dominates the discussion. Her opinions are so different from yours though, that you start to wonder if you read the same book. She thinks no one else’s opinion is valid.
She swears she’s coming to book club, but she cancels every time. You never see her, because she never actually shows up. You only know her from the group e-mail thread about book club.
She’s the person who’s mostly there for the food, but also has dietary restrictions. No gluten, no dairy, no soy, no meat, nothing GMO…the list of forbidden foods is longer than the book you’re reading.
She hates anything that’s been an Oprah’s Book Club pick or can be described as “chick lit.” She wants the group to read Karl Ove Knausgård and Marcel Proust.
She wants to make sure everyone discusses only the book. She brings a book club guide and won’t let anyone deviate from it. She also has extensive notes and has dog-eared every third page in the book.
She’s in five separate book clubs, but never seems to offer an opinion beyond “I liked it.” You question whether she’s actually the Non-Reader, but she claims she read the book.
The Loose Cannon
Whether she’s a stay-at-home mom or someone who works 80 hours a week, she almost never gets a chance to cut loose—so book club is where she does it. She has too much wine or too much coffee and too many cookies, and suddenly she is going absolutely off the rails.
She sneers at book clubs but joined the group anyway. Throughout the evening, she keeps muttering, “What is the point of this again?”
She’s a wizard at picking books. She chose the first book for the group to read, and whatever she reads spreads like wildfire to the other members of the book club and beyond. She frequently picks the next book even though she’s more than willing to give others a chance. She’s just that good at picking the right book.
She will do anything to avoid actually buying her own copy of the book. If the local library doesn’t have it, she’ll suggest shifting the date of the book club so she can wait for an interlibrary loan. She might even suggest you hurry up and read your copy, so she can borrow it in time to read it before the book club meets.