The Beck-tator: Book Clubbin’

I wish I was in a real book club. I’d love to meet up with five or six other people once a month to discuss a novel, snack on a carefully comprised cheese plate and sip on mimosas. Alas, a book club is a decently difficult think to establish. I’m almost always reading something, but the obstacle of working around other people’s schedules leaves book clubbing just slightly out of my reach.

Fortunately, there is a saving grace. Slate Magazine (you know Slate, they hang out on your Facebook newsfeed) has a podcast called “The Audio Book Club.” Every month, a couple of Slate employees will sit down and discuss a pre-chosen novel. You can either read the book during the preceding month and listen to the discussion in relation to your own opinions, or you can listen to podcasts about books you haven’t read yet—it’s a great way to find out what you might like to read.

I have listened to an ABC podcast discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me,” and another about Ian McEwan’s “Saturday.” I haven’t read these books, but I wasn’t completely lost listening to either podcast. The conversationalists do a good job of referencing work by other authors—Matthew Arnold, Saul Bellow, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf—which makes the discussions relatable without diminishing the self-sufficiency of the books.

What I like about this podcast is that it doesn’t seem scripted. Edited, I’m sure, but you can hear the conversation take its own turns. This gives it a tone that is less symbolic than an English class, but more sophisticated than a surface summary of a story. They speculate about the truths within the novels, openly agreeing or disagreeing with each other. If you long for a book club but don’t have one, tune into ABC. Or, call me and let’s put a cheese plate together.