I consider myself the odd man out of the group. Not only am I the oldest with 4 grandchildren and the only one fortunate enough to be an avid golfer, but how did a person that has probably read less than 50 books in his lifetime end up in a book club with a bunch of guys that read voraciously? Me of all people, a guy that absolutely hated English language and literature in high school back in England. I’m not talking hate like green beans, but hate like a root canal without an anesthetic while sticking needles in your eyes. The only reason I took English language and literature back then was they were mandatory subjects to enter University and study something useful like maths, physics and, the ultimate, engineering. Ahhhh Engineering, a profession that has correct answers: I mean, no matter what language you choose or how flowery you say it 2+2 is always 4. A is A. Get 10 questions like that correct and bingo bango you get 100%. English on the other hand, you can write a short story that is deemed a fantastic piece of work in one person’s eyes and a Godforsook festering piece of *&^% in another’s. So depending on your reviewer’s mood that day you get can get an A+ or F. How phony is that?… it kills me.
So here I am trying to get my head around reading books voluntarily, my brain mixing the abstract nature of literature and precision of science, an alchemist trying to come up with that perfect combination. All of this self examination is what led me to choose the “Chrysalids” for my first book selection, the first book I can safely say I read seriously at age 17 because it was our High school reading material for that elusive English ‘O’ level I needed to get into University. I kept telling myself, all you need is a pass mark and I would be on my way, leaving reading fiction behind me, like pavement rushing under a speeding truck. So in July 2009, Bob was 54 and 17, reading the “Chrysalids”. The good news is thanks to that six toed freak I got my pass mark and was on my way.
So back to my original question how did I end up joining a book club which makes me read books by choice? I think I finally figured it out. Just like English ‘O’ levels were a rite of passage to go to University to do what I really wanted to do, joining this book club is also a rite of passage to do something I really want to do now: drink scotch in the company of a great bunch of guys. So while I am now reading books for pleasure and still trying to find that elusive book the critics always rave about — you know, the one that “I couldn’t put down” or the one that “makes me laugh out loud” — it does come with the fringe benefit of drinking some tasty scotch that I just couldn’t put down and conversation with a bunch of golf starved literature junkies that makes me laugh out loud.