Book club blues…

Past book club victims

Ever have trouble deciding what you’re going to read next? Yup, me too. But imagine if every time you had to choose a book, seven of your best friends had to agree that they wanted to read it that week, too. If you are or have ever been in a book group you will understand my plight. If not, then I will try to elaborate.

I am in two book groups. One, the ‘grown-up’ group, exists mostly to allow five erstwhile devoted mothers/wives/girlfriends to eat way too many Pringles and moan about what their husband/partner/child has done that week. We talk about a ‘grown-up’ book for about three minutes (once we made it to four but that was mainly because we were waiting for Pappadums, and Deborah, to arrive before we could start serious gossiping).

The other, definitely-not-grown-up, group, exists to allow seven writers, editors, critics and general book obsessives to spend three hours dissecting, defending or destroying the latest children’s or teen novel. Pringle-eating occurs, but purely in between arguing over whether angels are the new vampires and if so, why. All jolly good fun, until it comes to choosing next month’s book. Which is when everyone turns into children, and starts sulking, huffing, and refusing to do their homework, because, like, it’s just NOT FAIR.

And here is why (am using pseudonyms because you know and love these writers, and, I do not want that to change based on their weird fondness for trolls):

K: Books must have feisty heroine. And preferably paranormal romance. And possible death.

Other K: Under no circumstances must anyone die. ESPECIALLY if it is a dog. And DOUBLE ESPECIALLY if it is a Labrador.

L: Must have Vikings. Or trolls. Or, better, a Viking troll.

J: No Vikings or trolls. Also no fairies, elves, vampires, angels, ghosts or anything else MADE UP. Also no books by men writing in voice of girl. Is just weird.

I could go on. But I think you get my drift. So I’m ending with a plea: can someone, ANYONE, come up with a book that is going to satisfy all of us? Or at least not cause one of us to threaten to chew our own arm off if we have to read it. It would save me an awful lot of bother. And Pringles.

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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