Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Accidental Book Club

Synopsis (from Amazon): Writing a new future takes a little time—and a lot of love.
Jean Vison never expected to run a book club, until her life took an unexpected turn. Now, with Jean’s husband gone, what began as an off-the-cuff idea has grown into a group of six women who meet the second Tuesday of every month for a potluck supper, for wine and laughter—and for books.

There’s Loretta, who deals with the lack of intimacy in her marriage by diving into erotic novels. Dorothy, whose ruffian sons are a never-ending source of stress. May entertains the group with her outrageous dating stories, while Mitzi finds something political to rant about in every book—including Loretta’s trashy romances. Even Janet, with her mousy shyness and constant blush, has helped Jean rediscover the joy in life.

So when Jean’s family starts unraveling again—her daughter forced into rehab and her troubled teen granddaughter, Bailey, coming to live with her in the interim—she turns to the book club for comfort and support. And, together, they all, even Bailey, discover that family is what you make of it, especially the family you choose… 

I am so excited to share a guest post with the author, Jennifer Scott
My Big, Fat, Fake Book Club
I don’t belong to a book club. Seems that I should. After all, I love books. I love talking about books. I love people who love talking about books. I’m a sure fit.

I’ve only been invited to officially join one book club, and at the time it didn’t work with my schedule. Evenings, kids, sports, school events, blah blah blah, the usual.

Every so often, however, I fantasize about creating my very own book club. My book club would be fabulous. We’d meet over potlucks, just like Jean’s book club does in The Accidental Book Club. I’d bust out my best recipes, and maybe even try some new ones to fit a challenging theme. Perhaps jiaozi and steamed buns for Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement, or a hearty beef stew and a stout beer for Kent Haruf’s Benediction.

In my big, fat, fake book club, we would turn out all the lights and discuss Marisha Pessl’s Night Film by creepy candlelight. Maybe the braver among us would fire up a scary movie afterward. The next month we would all write confessional letters to Richard Gere, to celebrate our reading of Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now.

Perhaps we would wear formals to discuss Prom Nights from Hell. After that, we’d tackle some provocative nonfiction—perhaps The Death Class by Erika Hayasaki—and have weighty discussions surrounded by “brain food”—blueberry crumble, smoked salmon, guacamole.

And, of course, my game-for-anything fake book club would read The Accidental Book Club. We’d all bring regular dishes that we’d “gourmeted up” with capers and fancy cheese and other foody things, drink tons of wine, and talk about motherhood, expectations, and friendship.

Alas, I will probably never start a book club. Evenings, kids, sports, school events, blah blah blah, the usual. I will never get to throw a reality TV-themed party to discuss A.S. King’s Reality Boy.

But boy did I love inventing a book club in The Accidental Book Club.

I had such a good time trying out new dishes through Jean, being taken away on sexy fictional romps through Loretta, getting politically fired up through Mitzi, and thinking deeply through shy, sensitive Janet. I loved picturing the set table, the books lovingly laid out with the water glasses. I loved imagining the scent of the wine as it was being poured, the view of the woods through the dining room window.

I especially loved the camaraderie of the women—the way they had each other’s backs, the way they understood one another, the way they looked out for each other and spoke their minds. I loved that the book club itself, just like the books they were there to read, went so much deeper than just words on a page.

The Accidental Book Club may be the only book club I ever belong to. But I don’t mind, because they were a pretty fun group to hang out with. *grabs book* Now, where’s the food?

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