IMG_4661_editI’ve always wanted to be a reader. Like a real reader. Not just short Mitch Albom books, but real grown up books. Books that are longer than 150 pages and don’t have pictures. I always imagine myself nurturing my brain and expanding my vocabulary. It’sd be nice to start a sentence with “I read this book,” once in a while instead of “I saw this show the other day,” too. But no matter how much reading I manage to sneak in, I still feel like I’m a wannabe reader. So in hopes to change that, my friend and I started a book club. We alternate book picks to help us broaden our horizons in what we read. She is always on the search for the perfect love story (which she is failing miserably), and I usually pick depressing non-fiction (which I am winning at). It’s nice to be pushed out of our comfort zones.

The only rule we have is that we remain two members. She’s been in a book club before and didn’t like waiting so long for her pick. Because of this, she claims we are “book buddies.” I let her call us that, but I haven’t adopted that term myself. I think we are more like “literary losers.” If you continue reading you’ll see why.

The extent of our book discussions go as far as “what page are you on?” From what I hear about people who have book clubs, they mostly drink wine and eat cookies instead of discussing the book anyway. So I don’t think we are missing much. Our system is basic, but it gets the job done.

We are a few months shy of completing our second year. We completed 13 books our first year. Thirteen! That’s major! Sure, almost half of those were at a middle school reading level, but still.

My main goal for this year is to read more books than we did the year before. We are close, but we got a little sidetracked with a difficult book, Possession by A.S. Byatt. This was a real book at almost 600 pages. It won some author award or something too. It was one of those books that the author wrote to impress real readers, not wannabe readers like me. It was a book within a poem, inside a letter from a hundred years ago, from a hand written journal with more poems in it. I know, it sounds exciting. It was like the DaVinci Code, but about something no one gave a crap about. Anyway, it totally hurt our average. So when it was time for her next pick, she decided on something easy and juvenile from the YA (young adult) section, also none as Teen Fiction. “Matt, it’s time. I need to pick some chick lit.”

I’m not above the YA section or reading books geared towards younger readers. We read Wonder and The Book Thief, both geared for 6th graders and were great books. I’m not even against chick lit (I think). I’ve seen tons of rom coms, so I figured I could handle a book of it. Plus I wanted some quick reads to boost our reading average and Mitch Albom doesn’t have any new books out. Why not, right? But her pick, man…

First off, let me say I’m a good friend. I’m a good ass friend.

She chose The Selection by Kiera Cass.

When I went to pick this book up from the library, the librarian totally judged me without even saying a word. The cover has a princess in a big gown. The graphic of the title also has a giant tiara designed into the words. Written across the top of the book was the tagline, “For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.”

I began to panic. When I left the library I called her and exclaimed, “I can’t read this in public!”

“Heh heh, yeah, you totally can’t,” she giggled.

IMG_4656_editI try to subscribe to the philosophy that there are no guilty pleasures, just pleasures. If you like something, you like it. Why be ashamed of it? But this book, I’m ashamed to read. I guess this book was all guilt and no pleasures.

Imagine the Hunger Games meets the Bachelor meets Scooby-Doo. Girls competing for the love of some Prince in hopes of being the next princess in a post-apocalyptic world with some characters about as perceptive as Scooby and Shaggy.

While my friend was reading, she was taken back to her 16 year old self and was swooning. Me? I was reading in full on dad mode. “She’s only 17, why is she drinking champagne? Why is she willing to leave her family for this dude? She’s not even sure if she likes the guy! Why does she want to get married so young?” I was totally getting angry and worked up.

And then I’d question one of the male characters. “This guy is a total turd isn’t he?” I asked my friend.

“Oh, I don’t know. He sounds…” she didn’t even need to finish her thought. I could see the stars in her eyes through the phone. Nevermind…

Little did I know, this was the first in a three book series. THREE! After we finished the first book she requested that we read the next two back-to-back. It was more of a statement than a question. “I’m going to need to read the other two books now.”

She did barter a deal with me. I get to pick the next three books, even depressing non-fiction ones if I want. I reluctantly agreed. I wish I could take it back now, but it’s too late. Unfortunately, I’m a person of my word. I would say I’m a “man” of my word, but after reading these three books I don’t feel qualified to make such a claim. Yes, I did it, I read all three. All three books of our heroine America Singer (yes, that’s her name, America) changing her mind a million and a half times, and fighting for what she wanted. She couldn’t even decide what she wanted, but she was always, always “fighting” for it. If I hear the word “fight” one more time I think I’m going to need therapy.

If you decide to read these books, be prepared, two thirds of the series is the lead girl character needing time to think. “I just needed more time to think and figure out what I was feeling,” she said a million times.  Throw in some stereotypical high school backstabbing girls, all for love, and the crown, blah blah blah, whatever. You get the gist. If this book is a look inside the mind of a teenage girl, God help me when my girls are teenagers. I’m definitely not ready.

I’m going to go watch Die Hard now. I need to because what I’m saying to this book is Yippie Kaye Yay… you know the rest…

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