I made an unexpected debut at my wife’s book club last night because because I just happened to have read the book in question and my wife (still) has a flat tyre.

We all met up at Rosemary Barnstormworth’s house and she had thoughtfully laid on prawn volavons, curry flavoured twiglets and copious amounts of wine.

Obviously, this was my first team debut so I was understandably nervous. However, I needn’t have worried as I already knew some of the ladies present and I was warmly welcomed with a large glass of wine.

After 45 minutes and some pleasantries, I tentatively asked whether we could actually discuss our thoughts on ' The Kite Runner’. Hiliary Montague replied ‘Oh hang on Norman. There’s plenty of time for that. Oh I see you’re empty. Let me see to that.’ and promptly refilled my glass.

An hour later, I startled everyone by suddenly interrupting the conversation with ‘Well I thought the book was superbly written, recounting a story of broken friendship, deeply moving as well as providing a fascinating insight into life in Afghanistan in the 1970’s. Margaret - what did you think ?’

‘Well very similar to you really. Very moving. Especially the bit about the kite.’

‘Zandra - anything to add ?’

Zandra delved into her handbag for a tissue and pronounced:

‘I found The Kite Runner a deeply moving tale from start to finish daring to explore the intricacies and prejudices between Sunni and Shi-ite muslims, the special bond between two friends divided by cast, wealth, status and ignorance.The book is worth reading to the very last page if just for the the final scene which tugs at the heart strings evoking an overwhelming surge of emotion difficult to explain or even understand yet powerful in it’s impact.’

‘Thanks Zandra. Are you a reviewer on Amazon ?’

‘No. Why ?’

‘Well what you just said is identical, word for word, to a review on Amazon.’

‘Well, err, no. Not exactly.’

‘Listen ladies. I realise it’s my first time and I don’t mean to be rude but not one of you has actually read the book, have you ?’

‘Well Norman, no we haven’t but please have a refill while I explain. We are all very busy mothers, housewives and wives. Some of us are very active in the PTA and others work full-time so please forgive us if we haven’t always got time to actually read the book. Now maybe we can charge our glasses and discuss the book for the next meeting. Norman, as way of apology, what was the last book you read ?’

‘Oh come on. What’s the point ? You’re not going to read it anyway.’

‘Now, now Norman. You misunderstand the whole point behind book club. The most important thing is that we have the name of a book, we are currently reading, to tell all our friends who are members of rival book clubs.’

‘Rival book clubs ?’

‘Oh yes, Norman. You wouldn’t believe the rivalry. I happen to know that Sheila Henshall has had her eyes on you and your reading list for a while now. Anyway, after Christmas, we may well have more free time in January so, come on, what was the last book you read ?’

‘Err, well - I can’t remember.’

‘Oh come on Norman. Don’t be so shy now. We are all friends here tonight’

‘Well it is called ' Cost Based Oracle:Fundamentals (Volume 1)’ by Jonathan Lewis but it is a very technical book about the Oracle database. To be honest, the book contains lots of mathematics and statistical theory and it was pretty heavy going even for me and I still haven’t actually finished it.’

‘Hmm. Although I bet no-one else will choose it, that doesn’t sound entirely suitable. What about the book you are currently reading ?’

‘Err, well. I’m half way through ' Heavier than Heaven’ by Charles Cross.’

Margaret Smithers-Jones pipes up: ‘Oh I think I read about that one in the Daily Mail. Is it about the life of a man from Orkney who was an orphan and his constant struggle trying to discover his inner self and his experiences with various religions before converting to the Church of Scientology ?’

‘Err, no. This book’s about a grunge rocker from Seattle who rose from poverty to lead the most influential punk group of the 90’s to worldwide acclaim.’

Linda Postlethwaite replied: ‘Err, well it sounds a little far-fetched.’

‘It’s a biography and it’s all true. He later married and had a child but in 1994, he finally succumbed to his various drug addictions and depression. He overdosed on heroin and blew his brains out with a shotgun.’

‘Oh Norman. I really don’t think that’s suitable. Here, for Pete’s sake, cheer yourself up with some more wine.’

‘And some people think his wife was behind his death because he was about to leave the music business and divorce her.’

‘Oh Norman - do shut up. Now everyone; what do we all think about Jan Leeming ?’

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