So the book group/club meeting came and went without me keeling over beneath the weight of such close scrutiny, though I did feel sometimes that I was sitting in a sort of friendly interrogation chamber.
The main points that emerged about Gape were:
- Some people ‘don’t do fantasy’ but gave it a try and quite liked it.
- Some with more religious sensibilities were a bit disquieted by it.
- The humour and sense of location was good.
- Only one out of the 11 had bought the paperback and everyone else bought the Kindle version (mainly due to the price).
- I had a lucky escape as, of the two regulars who couldn’t attend last night, one loved the book to bits and apparently thought it was one of the best things she’d ever read, and the other was more of a hardcore Christian whose views might not have been so complimentary.
Some general points to emerge about the book group:
- Everyone is passionate about reading to different degrees (but some are more into the wine on offer!)
- Ladies of a certain age like to talk about medical stuff: operations, procedures etc. Before turning to Gape, the discussion was on colostomy bags and exploding colons.
- Said ladies also like to talk (a lot!). They like it so much that they don’t wait for each other to stop before they start to gabble over each other.
- I think one of them was on powerful drugs.
Points about me at book groups:
- My face proceeds through darkening shades of red and purple the longer I’m the centre of attention. I can feel it burning hotter as things proceed.
- Beer doesn’t always relax me (I might need to start drinking earlier if I’m ever invited to another of these things).
- Despite the friendliness shown by everyone, I couldn’t wait to get away. This made me feel ungrateful and dishonest.
- When not talking about books, my reserves of conversation and small talk quickly run dry.
- I still don’t know what to write when someone asks me to sign a book (is ‘Best Wishes’ friendly or impersonal?)
I kept thinking on the drive home about the closeness between the concept of ‘conversation skill’ and the fear that ‘conversations kill’.