Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is Your Topic Enough For A Full Book?

My once-a-month Book Club meets today. The book we're going to discuss is No! I Don't Want To Join A Book Club by Virginia Ironside, a British journalist. She formatted the book as a diary of a woman about to turn sixty who glories in being an "older" woman. Her friends are all bemoaning the many little things that bother them about becoming older.

The theme is about aging, but the author brings in bits and pieces of her life which slowly weaves a complete story. Rather loosely, but a story. I became annoyed with the book when only halfway into it and for one reason only. There was constant repetition of the aging theme, and I got tired of it.

The material in the book might have made a fine essay. Ms Ironside writes with wit and humor, and I think a short essay along the same lines would have been entertaining and amusing and still sent the message that getting older is not a bad thing, that old age brings its own set of genuinely pleasant times. Instead, the author stretched it out to a full book, which I found to be too much of a good thing.

This is not the first book I've read that, to me, would have made a good essay but not a full length book. Nora Ephron wrote a terrific essay about hating her neck once she reached a certain age. It was hilarious and sent a message, but she didn't go on and on with it. Instead, she grouped it with several other essays she'd written over the years and used the neck essay for the title of her book. It's called "I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being A Woman."  It was catchy enough to draw a reader to the book where they could discover several excellent and enjoyable essays.

I'm looking forward to hearing what the other six members of my Book Club have to say. Our discussion of this book is going to lead to talk about all of us getting older. I'm glad we only meet for an hour to hour and a half. Too much more of that, and I might get annoyed again.

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested to find out, as well. Since I'm playing catch up, I'll go read the results now. ;)