Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Infiltrate a Book Club

Lots of people want to be classy, articulate individuals with an abundance of wise and clever opinions. But that takes lots of time, work, and avoiding cable TV. And there are so many good reruns of That 70’s Show! that haven’t been seen a dozen times. So there must be some sort of speedway to skip to the land of refinement, right?

Absolutely! Joining a Book Club is an instant way to say “Hey! I must read. I’m in a club that says I do! Look at the books that I’ve not only claimed to have read, but have also discussed! We talk about things like themes, literary techniques, and whether or not the character was a Christ figure!”
HINT #1: When in doubt, just say s/he was. Presto! Conversation will abound. Jesus is Book Club gold.

Of course, joining a Book Club is itself an obstacle. Think of membership as the gate that keeps the riff-raff out of the magical land of politesse, where people drink tea, eat scones, and swap recipes with CEOs of Goldman Sachs.

I know what you are thinking. “Can joining a Book Club really help me rub elbows with the elite? Just ANY Book Club? What about some slovenly meeting in the basement of the YMCA?”

The answer, of course, is yes. Stop asking questions, you’re wasting valuable cable TV-watching time.

HINT #2: If still lacking something substantive to say, suggest that the character has closeted sexual feelings, and that is the driving influence to all of his/her action. It might have nothing to do with anything, but people will think you’re some sort of analytic Freudian and will spend the rest of the meeting discussing your revelation.

So how does one vault over the snobby barrier of Book Club exclusion? Follow these fool-proof steps to infiltrate the intellectual circle.

Step 1: Purchase & wear a fancy hat. The fanciness of one’s hat subconsciously sends the message to other readers that you protect your head with something that is just like your brain: select, privileged, and incapable of common work. See the chart below:

As you can see, if you wear a crown, members will assume that you are attempting to administer absolutism over the Book Club. The goal should be to follow your role model, Mr. Peanut: classy, relaxed, and quiet, but deadly to your enemies.

Step 2: Wear a tweed jacket. No explanation needed.

Step 3: Find a bookstore. This doesn’t require reading, just Google searching. By the way, Google & SparkNotes has all the literary analysis you will ever need. And it uses the eighth miracle of the world to deliver information: Bullet points.

Step 4: Walk around different sections of the book store, loudly criticizing the selection for everyone to hear.

“You call this a travel section? This is Zagat of Barcelona is from 2006! How will I know if I should summer* there?”
(*Summer: verb. To spend parents’ money on a yacht nearby)

“Where the Dickens is the…. Oh. Ah of course. Under D.”

“I see that Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue has sold out."

“The help could really use this book on eastern medicine, they've been looking miserable!”
(*Help: noun. Common folk who are not members of a Book Club. This may include your family, spouse, servants, friends, and business associates)

“Excuse me sir, I was wondering if there were any new publications on 17th century agrarian economics.”

Step 5: Find someone with a fancier hat than you. Clearly, that individual understands the value of wrapping their cranium with indulgent luxury.

Step 6: Ask that person if they prefer the “classical” interpretation of whatever selection they are exploring/reading. This will help you seem like an old-school scholar on any subject from architecture to rock and roll.

Step 7: Following a short answer, the person should quickly be willing to extend a preliminary guest invitation to his/her Book Club. If they are not members of a Book Club, tell them that you “misjudged the book by its cover” and then walk off knowing that although your time was wasted, you had a witty zinger.

Step 8: For your first preliminary meeting, be sure to read the books cover jacket beforehand and use the aforementioned hints. Also, instead of reading the book, cite the critic whose blurb was on the back, and ask if you noticed any comparisons to that author’s work. Remember to be vague, in case that author is used in the future.

Step 9:

If the group is unimpressed: announce that you are a mole for the government and you were exploring to see if the club was up to anything sinister. You’ll be kicked out, but at least it will be for being a spy. Start back at Step 1 and repeat as necessary.

If the group is impressed: Slowly learn the groups’ mechanics and begin to climb society’s ladder as you move towards dominating the group with your iron fist. Think of the club as a high-stakes poker game: you mightn’t have read a book in your life, but make THEM call that bluff!

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