My neighborhood book club abandoned any pretense of reading books long ago. Attendance has been consistently robust ever since.
Guilt, of course, lingers, since we all know what we’re supposed to be doing. So, over a glass or three of pinot noir at a recent gathering, I was overjoyed to hear about a new idea for well-intentioned but weary “book” club members.
The magazine article club.
This sensible idea frees us from having to make up fresh excuses every 30 or so days. Who doesn’t have time in a whole month to read something from People, er, I mean, the Atlantic?
This compelling idea is the brainchild of Joanna Goddard, a New York-based writer and editor. She proposed a club where members collectively read something that takes 45 minutes max to finish.
While I confess that I haven’t finished a book in a while, this is a club that would surely have me as a member.
I could easily recommend provocative articles and essays that I come across in my daily reporting, or that friends have forwarded to me in recent weeks. Among them, a troubling piece by a “middle-class” professional who’s actually broke. A profile of a Californian Ironman competitor accused of cheating her way to first place.
An exquisite essay by Fay Vincent titled “Life as the Ninth Inning Nears.” Or a funny piece about grandma hormones.
Just imagine the lively conversations we could have: How many of us are able to save money and, if we can’t, why is it so hard to do? Why would a woman so physically gifted feel the need to lie? If we’re lucky enough to reach 90, what wisdom might we hope to have attained? Why does it seem easier to be a grandparent than a parent?
While not the same as a book club, a magazine club with articles well-chosen also offers depth and drama. What it doesn’t require is any lame excuses. Or CliffsNotes consumption.
I’ll drink to that. □