Thursday, September 23, 2010

How it Ended.

I've been fretting about Book Blub for months. You already know I searched high and low to find the perfect book. Well I should have searched a litter higher . . . and lower. I should not have listened to 5 of my friends who all said in separate conversations "Oh you just have to read
Three Cups of Tea, it's seriously one of the best books I've read in years."

Here's how it went down:

I ignored the suggestions of friends and picked a book I read about on the Barnes and Noble website called "
The Elegance of the Hedge Hog." It got rave reviews by hundreds of readers so I just knew that this was the perfect book. I bought it and sat down one night to get immersed in a great story. On page 10, I realized that trouble was on the horizon. I needed a dictionary by my side the entire time I was reading just to figure out all the huge words. And let me just mention that I don't shy away from a challenging read like Dickens, or Austin, or the Book of Mormon. (Did I also mention that this book was first written in French and translated into English?) So I panicked. I emailed the Book Club and said "There's been a change of plans . . . . Hedge Hog is out, Buy Three Cups of Tea instead. "

Email sent, I bought Three Cups of Tea, which I had not yet read. Mistake number 2. One night, I settled down in my favorite chair and cracked it open. On page 10, I realized I had just purchased the most boring book in the world. Every single night thereafter I picked up the book and started to read. I couldn't even make it through 5 pages before I fell asleep. And that is something I've never done in my life -- fallen asleep while reading. Normal me would stay up until the crack of dawn to finish a good book. And believe me, I have done that on several occasions. But Three Cups --- I just couldn't do it. I couldn't even finish it!!!!!!!!! Me. The host of September Book Club, didn't finish the book. I don't think anyone has ever done that in the 10 years that we have been together. That was mistake number 3.

Now before you get me wrong, let me just say that what Greg Mortensen accomplished is most noble. And, he is a man I admire -- greatly. It's just that he is not a writer, nor is the person who helped him write the book. Sometimes it was in first person, sometimes third person. They went off on so many tangents I forgot what was happening in the story. And there was boring technical climbing jargon that only a climber would care about. (I think people who want to climb K-2 are insane. Just sayin.) It was like reading a college text book from cover to cover -- and who wants to do that for Book Club? Not me. Not my friends.

So the day of Book Club came. I spent hours and hours preparing a humble offering of food to make up for such a bad read. On the menu:

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Homemade Raspberry Syrup and Lemon Curd
Potato's Gratin with Bacon and Leeks
Artichoke & Goat Cheese Strata
Apricot Scones with Clotted Cream
Mixed Berries
Citrus Water
Diet Coke (the most important part of any Book Club)

Sounds good, huh. It was sub par. I didn't manage my time well so some of the humble offering never even made it to the breakfast table -- like the lemon ricotta pancakes. The homemade syrup and lemon curd were there, but not the pancake. I just couldn't finish, which seems to be a reoccurring theme in this story -- mistake number 4.

So then everyone came to my house. By this time I was hot and sweaty, and really tired from cooking and cleaning and trying to read a boring book. When we sat down to eat, I said "What Did You Think?" And these were the answers:

Didn't read it.
Hated it.
Boring-est book ever.
Didn't read it.
Didn't read it because I heard everyone who was reading it hated it.
It has replaced Tylenol P.M. at my house. Just start reading and you will fall asleep.
Me too.

Then we all laughed our heads off. It was epic. Then I said "This will go down in history as the suck-iest book club we've ever had." We laughed some more, and ate sub-par food for 2 hours and had a wonderful time talking about how we never want to climb Mt. Everest.

When it was over, my friend Julie said "Good thing we always emphasis the food or there would have been no Book Club today -- well . . . other than talking about how much we hated Three Cups.

And I said "Maybe we should change the name of our Book Club to "The Food and Sometimes Book Club."

It was unanimous. The Food and Sometimes Book Club will be meeting next month at Kristi's house. Care to join us?


Eunice said...

Someone recommended that book to me also and the same thing happened - I kept reading the first few pages over and over again. Only, I always fall asleep when I read. In fact, when I want to fall asleep, I read instead of taking some kind of pill!

Kristi said...

I am our book club lady for November. since now I know what not to pick, what should I pick?

crystal b. said...

Kristi, pick The Forgotten Garden. It's my favorite read this year.

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

That stinks! I'm so sorry. :) Kinda laughing though. I once chose a book for a book club fact, I think it was called, "I Talk Pretty One Day". I thought it sounded funny. Boy, if only I had known. It was a mostly Mormon book club and I had just recommended a NC-17 book. Pretty embarrassing.

A few suggestions for next time?

Anything by Jodi Picoult makes for a good discussion.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

But you've probably already read all those, huh?

Jenni said...

hahahahaha! that is classic! i tried reading that one too, as a school was doing a penny project and wanted to support that cause - i hated it after page 5, yuck! i even bought the ya version to see if it was better - nope.

sorry that it was you that had to be the picker of the bad book, but the story is hilarious!

i am reading "falling from grace" right now by s.l. noele and i am obsessed. the only problem is you can only getting on ebook. i have tried to order it for my classroom, as i think students would like it too, but the one copy amazon has is 113.00! i emailed the author to see if/why she only has it for sale that way and i haven't heard back yet?! oh well, it is still amazing and good thing i have my kindle!

annie said...

You have no idea what a relief it is to read these words! I haven't tried Three Cups, but I did indeed pick Elegance of the Hedgehog for our book club a while back... and it was a complete BUST. No one could finish it. (And I, like you, am a fairly avid reader, and I don't shy away from harder texts!) But this... This was just awful! It's still a joke in our book club months later. We tell new members when it's their time to pick the book not to worry, because I already picked the worst book club book ever!

Samurai Mom said...

I listened to Three Cups of Tea on CD and really liked it but I can see that it would be a very confusing and boring read.

meg duerksen said...

that is hysterical.
i would like to be in a book club that doesn't read books. :)

jasmine bailey-barfuss said...


My mum LOVED that book! HAHAHAHAH BEst book of the summer apparently hahahahahahhaha Oh Crystal, YOU should write a book!!!!! I loved reading that post so much!!!!!! I hope you save all these posts forever!!!
AHAHAHAHAH OH YOU ARE SOOO FUUNYY!!!! And sooo freaking honest I love it!

You just put a smile on my dial big time. You are Marian Keys in her hay day!!!! You go girl!!!
PS I wanna come to book club! Wah!