Cramming for book club

It’s Friday night and you know what that means – it’s book club night!

Well, book and wine club. As I discovered last time, the first rule of book club is that you are totally allowed to talk about book club, provided you bring some wine. So while I might not be donning a micro-mini and stilettos and painting the town red this Friday night, I can assure you there will be enough drinking, carousing and lively debate committed while wiggling a wine glass for emphasis to ensure we start the weekend in proper order.

I have actually done my homework too. I have to admit, I nearly faked reading this month’s pick, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. It’s not that I didn’t like the sound of it; I do like Atwood‘s writing and had read this book a few years ago. But when I went to find my copy in the labyrinthine depths of my amazingly over-stuffed book shelves I discovered, much to my annoyance, that it must have been lost in one of my moves. Well, that or my books have turned cannibal.

I figured I’d probably get away without reading it – I mean, in order to have it go missing from my shelves, I must have read it after I moved to Australia. So that means it has to have happened in the last six years and even my memory isn’t that useless. I figured I could just read a synopsis to refresh my memory a bit. No worries.

That illusion lasted until about page 30 or so of the 600+ page book. So, there’s sisters, Iris and Laura. Oh, one dead sister. Right, I think I remember that. And some newspaper articles about them. Hmm. Oh, a button factory, this seems kinda familiar. And a story in a story. And aliens. Wait, medieval aliens from Planet Zycron. Wait, medieval human aliens who use child slavery to make rugs and sacrifice mute girls to gods they don’t even believe in…

…I have no idea what the hell this book is about. Darn. I’m going to need to re-read the whole thing.

So, with just a day to go, I have been cramming. In a move a bit reminiscent of my college days (“the exam is on Wednesday? I’ll study Wednesday”) I have been snatching every moment I have spare to re-read. It’s a bit alarming that a book – a book that I remember enjoying – can slide so neatly and completed out of my head. It’s a little disheartening that my brain so readily gives up the entire plot of book that won the 2000 Booker Prize but hangs on with grim determination to the lyrics of The Chicken Song by Spitting Image. (Don’t click that, or as the song warns you, you’ll be humming it for weeks.)

Attempting to cram my brain with culture has been reasonably successful – I know the plot! Ish! – but a large part of me mourns the fact that I couldn’t get stuck into my copy of World War Z, which has been burning a hole in my ereader for 2 weeks now. I hope the rest of book club appreciate my last-minute efforts more than my lecturers did. At least with the book club I’m actually allowed to bribe them with wine if they don’t.

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Sadhbh Warren

Sadhbh Warren is a freelance writer and proud booklover. Her name is pronounced Sive - like five – an Irish name, easier to say than spell! She lives in Sydney, writing travel and humour articles, and is always on the lookout for a great new book.