Customers divulge their book club secrets to me.

“Oh, often I don’t finish the book! I just run out of time…”

I judge them. Harshly. How dare you? How dare you gather a group of people who are passionate about books, about reading, and not respect that sacred space by at least completing the book that’s up for discussion?

Last night I went to my first book club, and I was that girl. Having spent the previous night cleaning for a late-notice house inspection, I didn’t finish the book. I got very close, but 15 pages from the end still isn’t finished. I carried the guilt in under one arm, and the book under the other. I still contributed.

After reading like a writer for so long, this book club mode of reading strikes me as different. Not bad, but different. It’s luxurious. It relates to the content of the book on the same level that people in the world relate to other people in the world. We’re allowed to judge.

“The father was a bit of a dick.”

Everybody nods. This is a valid observation.