Life is short, and I have a long list of books I want to read. I want to read The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, because I really loved the movie Hugo and I’m curious about the creative mind behind it. I want to read The $64 Tomato, which my brother Elia recommended, because I find the Slow Food movement so compelling and noble. Just because I find the titles intriguing, I want to read Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa and The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack W. Lynch. And then there's every single book on last year’s New York Times 1OO Notable Books List.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed about the limited time I have to do all this reading. And don’t get me started on the books I want to read again.
I understand why it would seem like I’m a natural fit to join your book club. I’m a writer; I read a lot; I’m passionate about books; I have opinions. But there is one crucial reason I’ll never join your book club:
Because I don’t want to read the same books you want to read.
And I’m not willing to compromise at all. Reading, you see, is one area of my life that is totally mine. I do it alone, on my own time, when I want, where I want, how I want. I often read out loud. I read in bed. I read when I am procrastinating work. I read when I’m lazing about in my red down sleeping bag on a rainy Sunday. I read on beaches in Koh Samui and in yurts in Big Sur. What I don’t do is read for the sake of socializing.
I’m an introvert, and if I have my way, I spend as little time as possible having actual human conversation. I interact with the world largely through reading and writing. I don’t even like to talk on the phone! Don’t get me wrong; I have friends. And I like to see them in person… sometimes.
But that reminds me, I do have my own idea for a book club, and it goes like this:
- You read whatever you want. It doesn’t even have to be a book. It can be a National Geographic article or the back of a cereal box.
- We have a potluck dinner. You bring the lasagna. I’ll pick up some Coco Bliss at the Whole.
- We each take turns talking about the book we’re reading. Everyone gets to stand up and synopsize their story for 3 minutes. No one is allowed to be boring.
I’ve been wanting to do this, but because I’m an introvert, I’m not great at planning parties. Anyone else want to take this on? Please invite me!