I'm not a joiner by nature, but when my place of employment started a book club, I thought, what the heck, I should get to know my co-workers better, and resolved to attend. And so I appeared at the appointed hour in the appropriate conference room.

Looking around the room that first meeting, I saw to my horror that more than half of the attendees were members of the senior staff who wouldn't know me from Eve. I wondered if I was in the right place.

"Excuse me, is this the book club?"

"It's not a book club. The word 'club' connotes exclusivity. We're a book group."

Uh oh...

I should have realized off the bat that this wouldn't be the fun, gossipy kind of book group so many people enjoy.  Something's gotta be fishy when Management sponsors a book club.  Somehow I missed the announcement that its focus would be "diversity."  (I found out later that someone had set a goal that the company would hold a certain number of events each year to sponsor diversity in the workplace, with some percentage of employees attending at least one event annually.  It was all very political.) 

Well, I proceeded to meekly take my seat, my copy of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down in my hand.  (Good book, by the way.)  It had to be the most uncomfortable book group meeting in history.  None of the senior staff had apparently read the book, and the few of us "normal" employees present were too intimidated to express any opinion whatsoever. Fortunately, the senior staff, having met their diversity requirement, abstained from attending future meetings.

It was never a very robust group.  We had six regular members, but only three typically showed up at any one time and I don't think we ever really gelled.  It was pretty sterile and far too business-like. The book selections gradually became less and less appealing, until the whole thing was on the verge of collapsing under its own weight. 

Fortunately, times change.  The non-reading senior staff members have mostly retired, and the four of us who stuck with it dropped the whole diversity requirement in favor of selecting whatever we're in the mood to read (and absolutely no one commented about the change, so I guess it wasn't all that important after all).  New employees have joined the company and subsequently joined the group – which is still a "group" and not a "club" – and recently someone has started bringing food to the meetings.  Now if I could just convince them to meet off-site after-hours (say, at a nearby pub) I'd be all set.

BookBrowse reviewer Kim Kovacs is an avid reader in the Pacific Northwest. All those rainy days give her the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of books that span many genres. Browse Kim's reviews.

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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby