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I’m a member of a slacker book club.

Yes, I’ve heard stories about slacker book clubs before, and perhaps you are even a member of one yourself.  But my slacker book club is the most slackery of all book clubs on the face of the Earth, because taking months to read the book or not reading the book at all is just the tip of our proverbial iceberg. 

My group can’t even choose a book.

In our book club, each member takes a turn choosing the next book.  The last book that we read was NUDGE, a non-fiction text about the ways in which people can alter the decision-making of others through small organizational changes.  I didn’t love the book but found certain aspects of it interesting enough.  But the problem was that it took our fellow book club member, who I will call Boris, almost four months to choose the book.

Four months!  And this the member of our group least likely to read the book in the first place!

Four months.  Can you even imagine a scenario that might explain this failure?

Since our last book club meeting, which occurred almost two months ago, we have been waiting once again for the title of our next book.  This week I thought I’d finally get one when the sloth-like person in charge of choosing this book, who I will call Sister Mary Magdalene, contacted me in hopes of borrowing some of my audio equipment.

“Sure” I said.  “Pick it up on Wednesday morning.  The only catch: You need to choose the next book club book before you get here.”

This is what it has come to: the withholding of favors in order to convince an intelligent, well-informed, well-read individual to name the title of a book. 

Any book. 

Thankfully, Sister Mary agreed. 

On Wednesday morning she arrived at my classroom with a smile on her face, a skip in her step, but (did you see it coming?) no book title in mind.

Mind you, Sister Mary is married to Brother Thomas Aquinas, who teaches high school English and reads more books than anyone I know.  She lives with a man who can talk about books for hours and would be more than happy to offer her some suggestions, and yet she arrives on Wednesday with nothing in mind other than the intent to break her promise to me. 

“I know, I know,” she said as she shuffled her feet in deserved shame.  “But the last couple books that we read were duds, so I feel like expectations are high.”

“If the last couple books were duds, then how can expectations be high?”

And you know what’s an even better way of raising expectations to unreasonable and unattainable levels? 

Spend three months looking for the perfect book.  How could any book possibly live up to the scrutiny of a three month search?  Unless she picked the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel, this book will never live up to a ninety day hype.

This occurred on Wednesday.  It is now Friday morning and we still do not have the title of our next book. 



So I am imposing some new, unilateral rules on our book club, including:

1. The next book that we will be reading will be announced at the book club meeting.

2. If you do not have a choice in mind by the time you arrive to the meeting, you lose your turn to choose.

3.  If you fail to choose a book on three consecutive turns, you will be forced to read Virginia Wolff’s TO THE LIGHTHOUSE as punishment.

I’ll let you know when Sister Mary Magdalene finally announces the must-await title.  Perhaps you can read along with us and help me determine if it was worth the wait.