book worm A friend recently started a book club, and I was delighted to join. Sure, what I like best to read are romances and mysteries, but to include one book per month that was outside my usual reading range sounded like a great idea. So far we have met twice, the one book I have read until now was not quite to my taste, but still interesting to peruse, and I like other participants, all women. None of the other women read romance extensively, although one is like me in that she openly and unabashedly prefers happy endings. The other thee women are more into literary fiction, with some women’s fiction and detective stories added. So far, so good. There is only one thing that is driving me up the wall.

When we have finished discussing the book du jour, the next questions are: “And what else have you read? What are you reading at the moment?” The group-member who reads the most (let’s call her Bea) always has several titles to list, but she introduces two of three books she mentions with the words: “But it’s not literary fiction … It’s not that well-written really, I’m just interested in the topic … It’s just popular fiction really …” And it’s driving me insane. 👿

For one thing, I think it rather pointless to consider a book’s purported literary value ahead of everything else. Second, in my eyes it’s just cringe-worthy when Bea gets apologetic about the books she so obviously enjoys. What’s the point? No-one’s handing out credits for each book according to its literary value. And how I am supposed to feel, whem I adore popular fiction?

Because I value my time and the good mood prevalent in that book club otherwise, I am determined to cure Bea of that habit in our club. She can tell other people she doesn’t value the books she read as long as she pleases.

So, have you got any idea how I can stop Bea from disparaging her books in this way? I am prepared to get as manipulative as I need to, but I don’t want to be downright rude, as I like Bea and appreciate her take on the books otherwise. Please run by any ideas you have, perhaps you will be the one to come up with the perfect solution to my problem. Because if I can’t solve this somehow, I am afraid I will have to leave the book club. If it becomes a place where the worry if a book is “good” enough or “literary” to deserve discussion is constantly brought up, it’s not a place for me.

-Rike Horstmann