The book club’s essential characters

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (  She owns The Paper Trail of St. Louis, a financial and legal concierge service. Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

Over the years, I’ve been in a few book clubs.  I love the idea of a book club in theory.  I want to read a book, engage in discussion and have a meaningful evening.  After all, I’ve just devoted hours to reading this book.  

Often, though, I find myself with a glass of wine in my hand and virtually no discussion of the book.  Most evenings of book club, I’ve learned about tons of books I should have read instead of this one, what’s happening at the high school, and where to get a new pair of shoes.  I would love to have this knowledge, don’t get me wrong—just not after suffering through some of these novels.

There are definite stereotypes of a book club member and I identify with most of them at some point or another:

The Reader:  This person comes to book clubs prepared.  She has read every word, made some notes in the margins or highlighted her Kindle.  She is prepared to discuss.  Ha!  She is in for a rude awakening.

The Slacker:  This person comes to book club having read only the first few chapters. Don’t worry about spoilers with this person though.  There is no chance she will actually finish the book. 

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The Don’t Tell Me Slacker:  This person is the book club’s worst nightmare.  She comes to book club in much the same state as the Slacker, but there is one key difference.  This person actually intends to read the book and doesn’t want to know what happens.  No discussion of the ending or key elements of the book is permitted in her presence. 

The Panner:  Somewhere along the way, this person decided she hated the book.  She either stopped reading entirely or has come to the club so she can tell you how every character you love is trite and predictable.  She will undoubtedly throw out a few of your favorite quotes in a mocking tone to make her point.

The Drinker:  This person made no attempt to read the book.  Period.  Have her second glass poured. 

I’m beginning to think that it might be in my best interest to devote less time to book club.  Perhaps I am better suited to “Short Story Club” or “Movie Club.” 

At least we’d all be on the same page.