Everyone loves book club, right? Sharing your favorite titles, great refreshments, and hey, a night out! Sometimes, though, things can go wrong. My co-sleuths Summer and Dorothy found that out firsthand when they started their own book club to catch a murderer in PERMANENTLY BOOKED.
Here are 8 awkward book club “situations”—and a little advice—from the Ladies Smythe & Westin and me:
#8: No one agrees on what to read.
Take turns choosing titles. Sometimes themes or book guides can get boring, so don’t be afraid to shake things up. Keep those title selections short.
#7: People aren’t discussing the book.
Set an agenda ahead of time, and try to stick with it. Plan “social” time before or after the meeting—or both. And shut off those cell phones!
#6: No one likes your refreshments.
Bring food you know most people will enjoy. It’s okay to be different, and healthy choices are always appreciated, but maybe you should reconsider that anchovy-kale-bean dip. Also, don’t bring up your diet while other members are digging into the cherry ambrosia or chocolate fondue.
#5: The same person does (all) the talking.
Every club has at least one know-it-all member. If gentle hints fail, set a timer.
#4: No one else has read the book.
Annoying? Yep. But you can probably count on someone who’s at least seen the movie. Are there ways the book and movie differ? Discuss! (And if YOU haven’t read/finished the book, show up anyway, and do your best to fake it. Resolve to be more prepared next month.)
#3: Some members feel left out.
No Mean Girls at book club! Be nice to everyone, and listen politely to everyone’s opinions. Don’t trash anyone’s book choices. It’s okay to be critical about a book, but offer its good points, too.
#2: Your hostess looks tired.
Some people enjoy throwing a party, and have the perfect space. But hostessing every meeting can be a drag. Take turns, and always volunteer to help clean up. You might even snag a few extra brownies. No space? Consider holding a few meetings in a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or local bookstore.
#1: You brought up the murder, and it wasn’t in a book.
As the Ladies Smythe & Westin found out, discussing a real murder at book club is a big mistake. Time to make a gracious—and quick—departure!
Readers, have you ever faced any sticky situations at book club? Any advice to share?
The first rule of the Hibiscus Pointe book club is don’t talk about the murder
Semi-reformed party girl Summer Smythe is finally feeling at home at the Hibiscus Pointe Retirement Community. All that’s left to do is replace her late grandma’s massive book collection with a TV. Donating them to the community library is the perfect solution—until she finds the librarian buried in books. Literally.
Summer and her sleuthing partner, longtime resident Dorothy Westin, can’t imagine who would want to kill poor, dedicated Lorella. Soon, they’re on case…and the Hibiscus Pointe book club is the perfect cover for their investigation.
A murdered librarian is headline news in south Florida, and even outsiders, including an oddball professor and a pair of dueling authors, are eager to join the once-dull group. But one menacing member has Dorothy and Summer bookmarked for the morgue. If the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t nab the killer fast, the Hibiscus Pointe book club may be reading their obituaries next.
See how Summer and Dorothy first teamed up in Cardiac Arrest, available now!
Lisa Q. Mathews is a mystery author who lives in New England but sets her books in sunny Florida. Like her co-sleuths Summer and Dorothy, she adores iced tea, rich desserts, Nora Ephron movies, and most of all, fun detective stories! Represented by Stephany Evans at FinePrint Literary, Lisa is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), International Thriller Writers (ITW), and Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Learn more about Lisa Q. Mathews here.