So last night to tie in with my bookish challenges I went along to my first ever book club meeting. I have always wanted to join or start a book club, mainly because it seems to be an excuse to drink loads of el vino, but also because I love books. It’s hard in my line of work to find time to read anything that isn’t a planning document or a load of emails and press releases, but when I get the chance I like nothing more than to devour paperbacks one by one (my arthritis makes hardbacks hard to hold – poor me…bring out the violins and tissues) .
And, if you haven’t already noticed I’ve got a lot of time on my hands right now!!
So when I started this crazy challenge I spotted that one of the newest and supposedly friendliest coffee shops in Chester (the clue is in the name) was starting a new book club. Due to the fact it was the only literary group I could find in the city, and, a little bit because it was being held in a cafe where they play my favourite sit-com on repeat and have Gunther serving you at the tills (he must fancy me, I mean I am called Rachel, even if I am more winey like Monica), I decided to tackle the chosen book and head along to Central Perk on Bridge Street last night.
Unfortunately I downloaded the book onto my kindle around three weeks ago and – as I was worried I would forget to read it (scatter brains) – I read it straight away in just a day. This obviously meant that by yesterday I had totally forgotten what The Law Clerk was about (sorry Stan Gregory the only thing memorable was how unrealistic I found it)! I had decided to skim re-read the book before the meeting at 7pm but, for the first time in forever, I fell into a deep sleep with my Kindle resting on my stomach and woke up three hours later confused, sweaty and looking like I had been caught napping during an important meeting after waking up with a jerk with dribble running down my chin and my hand stuck to my face.
I literally had half an hour to get into town, meaning deodorant, a bit of bright pink lippy and colour-pop blazer (to look cultured) and hastily re-reading the first few pages to remind myself of the main characters’ names – which as the start is so shocking saw the whole book come flooding back – phew!!!
Oh, before we carry on don’t forget to read my book reviews for the challenge of A round lady vicar, serious sleaze politician and snazzy dresser – you can click here – or click on the good the bad and the ugly link at the top of blog
Honestly I felt so ill I shouldn’t have gone, and was panicking as my friend I met in hospital had told me she had gone to A&E (what a pair we are after Saturday night which I will tell you about later), before I fell asleep after saying I would be on call if she needed any help – some friend I am (ironic huh)!
But as I raced – which basically means hobbled like a one-legged pigeon without the power of flight – along the famous city walls towards the Friends inspired cafe I rang my mate (unnamed not because I have forgotten it – tho it has been known to happen(I blame old age and drug abuse) but because I don’t have her permission) and thankfully she was OK and I didn’t need to grab a cab and race to the gastro ward armed with tacky mags, grapes and all the other things you are meant to take someone who is imprisoned from the outside world.
Anyway, anyway, anyway. I got to cafe and quickly discovered that I was the only person that had turned up, which was terrifying and brought on hot flushes and cold sweats as I realised I couldn’t really remember everything about the text, well not enough to spout off cultural jib-jab for the next two hours!!! PANIC!!!!!
Well it’s a lie to say it was just me and the leader of the book group, who by the way is a really cool guy (he was a bobby, then a lawyer and now an author and poet). Another guy was there who was from the Liverpool Book Group and had come along to join in 🙂
So we started….we chatted about books…the rubbishness of this book…the themes…the terrible characters….some literary mumbo jumbo….and some general chit-chat and no one else came!!! ( Well that’s a lie too, a homeless person came to the door to ask for food about halfway through – which lead to a cultured chat on homelessness and the economy. ) I found myself jabbering on about all sorts 🙂 you know spouting a fair amount of cultural crap and ‘I think I identified with this character because of’ blah, blah, blah – but with my girlish charm and fluttering eyelids and engaging and charismatic character I think I just got away with it (BULLSHIT I hear you scream)!!!
Seriously, I’m not joking now, something happened to me when I sat on the couch with my soya latte and started talking to the bona fide author next to me – I transformed into a highly opinionated book-worm, spouting words like protagonist, dialogue and hmm I have forgotten the rest now I’m no longer playing dress-up and am back to off ill Rachel again.
But it was really amazing – I would go as far to say it is my favourite challenge so far – even if I did hate the book! I studied Literature at Uni and had thought this book group would be like those on-the-spot awful seminars, but it really wasn’t…it was like a great chat with fun, inspiring and knowledgeable friends – shame there was no wine 😦
I left, two-and-a-half hours later extremely hyper from two cups of coffee that were bigger than my face and a massive smile on my face, You could say I felt intensely smug that I had fitted in and hopefully came across as intelligent and cultural, despite noticing I had massive sweat stains under my pits from the amount of coffee, the unrelenting heat and my effort to be a literary buff.
And I gained a book after Ian Bradley Marshall (our group leader) presented me with a copy of his revealing publication named Being Gay, Being Bi, Whatever – which I had been eying up all evening on the table and managed to win in the raffle (I’m not sure it was a coincidence). I will obviously read this before the next meeting and give you a no hold back review of the book so you can see what I think – and he can too EEK!!
Anyway I will be going every month. Why? Well, just because it’s fun and makes me feel uber cool and intelligent 🙂 Why not join me?? Next month’s book is the 100yr Old Man – which is meant to be really cool…
Anyway, on a more serious note. Below is a short viblog on my unexpected Saturday night (race night ugh) session in Chester’s A&E….not fun!
I learned the value of true friendship (sacrificing getting ready and doing nails for a big night out to sit next to a blithering wreck in a hospital for hours – and forcing the person to ring parents for my own good) and how amazing my parents are at dropping things immediately and coming rushing at my smallest little issue and breakdown – which they have been doing all their lives (well mine).
It just shows how important support is and that you should never go to A&E alone or without you mobile charged up!! (yep learned that lesson already)
And FINALLY – I LEARNT IMPORTANT LESSON YESTERDAY – DON’T STORE THE SENSITIVE ADHESIVE REMOVER SPRAY HELPS REMOVE STOMA BAG AND PLASTERS) NEXT TO HARSH ROOM SPRAY DEODORANT (WHICH COVERS ALL KINDS OF STOMA SINS)– AS THEY LOOK THE SAME IN A RUSH – OUCH!!!!! but at least my wound smells nice!!!