On Friday night my book club had its end of year meeting. That’s the book club where we swap books and keep discussion to a minimum. I missed the end of year meeting of the book group, where the rest of the chaps discussed a book of essays by David Foster Wallace which I hadn’t managed to read, so I didn’t miss anything but conviviality and shame (unless of course something happened that they’re being secretive about). The book club met at Anong in Kings Cross for the best Thai food I remember ever eating, and we had a wonderful night, helped by two of our number being on first name terms with the restaurant owners and several having had recent travel adventures.
Rather than the usual complex swapping, this meeting each year is the occasion of a bit of simple giving. Each of us brings a gift-wrapped book, and each goes home with one. Two years ago three of the six books turned out to be The Slap, which has become even more ubiquitous since then, if that’s possible. This year, despite all the double guessing and byway exploration that goes into the choice of books, there was another hat trick: Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?