“Was it you I was going to lend the silicon muffin trays to?” You know you’re at a good book club when you hear a line like this. On Wednesday night, I was made extremely welcome as the cuckoo in the nest of a club that has now been meeting for 10 years. I was quickly given a glass of chardonnay (always a good start for the reticent podcaster). The red velvet cake was sliced. A very handsome looking cake, I might add. Pride and Prejudice was playing on the screen in the background. (The Colin Firth version, of course. This club has class.) The conversation was robust. “What will we do if there’s silence?” Kirsty asked. At least I think it was Kirsty. The memory falters when one is amongst eight women one has never met before.
“I don’t think that’s a risk,” I said.
Jane, ironically the only Austen “hater” of the group, had skyped in from Canberra. If that’s not dedication to book club, I don’t know what is.
The book clubbers – Jane, Kirsty, Kate, Tiffany, Shane, Bridget, Honora, Lisa – and I talked about Pride and Prejudice, covering all the important information. Who in real life had married Darcy (you’ll to have to listen to find out) and why Keira Knightley can never be a good Elizabeth. You know a book’s got stock when you’re discussing the characters as though they are an extended cast of family members.
However, I hazard that the women in this book club are characters every bit as interesting as the Bennets. By the end of the night, I felt as though events much more momentous than a double marriage were at stake. A new house, a new arrival, a revelation that one of the book clubbers is a burlesque dancer.
“For fun or for money?” I asked.
(As my boyfriend likes to joke to me: the first rule about book club. There are no rules at book club.)
And then, to top it all off just before I left, I find out the club has been writing their own romance novel. Well, they were writing their own romance novel. After a one-night stand with Chrissie, our hero Hayden is suddenly swept away from the UK and must return to family duties at his father’s vineyard in the Hawke’s Bay. On his journey back to New Zealand, Hayden nibbles ruminatively on a pack of peanuts. However, it is a truth universally acknowledged that peanuts are no longer served as in-flight snacks. The book club came unstuck over this detail and chapter three has now had a five-year gestation period with Jane in Canberra.
Hurry up, Jane! I want to read it.
Now to the podcast …