The Cold, Hard Realities of the Women’s Book Club Phenomenon

Not an actual picture of my actual wife, but other than that, completely accurate.

Anne and some of her friends put together a monthly book club a few years ago, and last night, the gals decided they’d invite their spouses along so we could get an up close and personal look at this women’s book club phenomenon.

Here are a few quick observations on that subject:

  1. 1.   From what I can tell, the key to the success of your book club does not depend on which friends you ask to participate or which books you decide to read but rather on the quantity and quality of the wine you provide when it’s your turn to host.  I don’t claim to understand women’s book clubs, but if you switch the wine out for beer, this is an idea I can get behind.
  2. I love Sports Illustrated as much as the next guy, but do not try to convince your wife’s book club that it should be a considered “a book”.  They will mock you for this.  And then you won’t get any hors d’oeurves.
  3. Guys:  Don’t think for a second that actually READING the book is a required part of book club participation.  I suspect that the real point is for your wife to stick you with the kids for the night while she tosses back some vino with her friends.  Once you understand this everything gets easier.
  4. For a woman’s book club, when it comes to choosing a book, you can either consult the New York Times best seller list, or just pick the latest offering from Oprah’s Book Club.  At least this way you know you’ll get a good cry and a “spiritual cleansing” out of whatever you read.  Apparently, this is desirable.  Guys, on the other hand, would prefer to avoid crying all together.  Especially in a group setting.  Unless of course their team loses the big game.
  5. Book clubs hosted by women seem to revolve around an excellent selection of wines and tasty snacks and bonding over the shared emotional experience that comes from the power of the written word.  If guys hosted book clubs, they would revolve around a lukewarm keg of beer, a stale bag of chips, red plastic cups, and a two dollar cover charge.  We may be the simpler of the two sexes, but you gotta admit, we’re incredibly efficient .
  6. I think women’s book clubs intentionally choose books that center on 1 of 3 subjects:  romance, intimacy , or chocolate.  I think they do this so they don’t have to worry about the men in their lives taking their books into the john with them.
  7. If you are a guy and you get invited to a meeting of a women’s book club, do not stand up and say “Hey, anyone mind if I turn on ESPN?  I gotta check the stats on my fantasy football team.”  Women, especially those who read books, will not see the humor in this.
  8. Here’s a rule of thumb for all you guys:  If your wife or girlfriend invites you to a meeting of her book club, whenever you feel the urge to talk about sports, talk about your kids.  Whenever you feel the urge to talk about politics, talk about your kids. Whenever you feel the urge to talk about the stock market, talk about your kids.  If you don’t have kids, talk about someone else’s kids.   If you don’t know anyone with kids, just sit down, shut up, and don’t say anything the entire night.  This is your only hope for survival.  Trust me.
  9. Given that men do most of their reading in the bathroom, I figure the only way you could make a men’s book club work would be to rent about ten porta potties, set them up in the backyard, and assign each guy a throne to work from.  Sure, it’d make the discussion part a little more difficult but most guys have already made up their minds about a book within the first 3 pages anyway so what’s there to discuss?
  10. And always remember, as Groucho Marx once said, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”