Welcome to the online home of the Keepin’ it Real Book Club. This is not your run-of-the-mill, namby-pamby book club. You don’t have to read the same book unless you want to. You don’t have to discuss character development. You certainly don’t have to discuss post-modern expressions of psycho-sexual development or make reference to Butler, Bhabha, Nietzsche or any of their ilk (Though all of these things are fair game if you really feel the need). You just have to love books (any books!) and be prepared to gush about them. Sound good? Welcome to the KIRBC.
The Heart of the Story:
Once upon a time, somewhere between Ottawa and Toronto, ten students embarked on a quest to expand their minds, discuss the books they loved, and get an ultimately useless degree. Much to their chagrin, they soon discovered that this was not the romantic notion they once believed. It was competitive, pretentious and high-pressure. It was riddled with unnecessary phallic showmanship and nihilistic philosophers. There was no room for breaking down ideas or egos, for laughter, for in-class comraderie or for movie references. And so one day, in Mac-Corry 508, a mission statement was born – to “keep it real”. To help others, to bring unabashed enthusiasm and personality into class. In short, to let a little air into stagnant, oppressive atmosphere of Watson 406.
And then one day, during a meditative trudge through the relentless Kingston precipitation, Jen reached enlightenment. And it was this: to further the Keepin’ it Real Mission, they needed to share what united them – a passion for books – to be able to proclaim their love for books – any books – not just the ubiquitous To the Lighthouse (No offense to Ginny)– from the rooftops. Furthermore, she realized this group had a wealth of reading experience between them, and undoubtedly had fantastic recommendations they had never shared. It was a chance to gush, rant and rave about books without an academic beard.
And so the first meeting of the Keepin’ it Real Book Club was called at Jen’s home, Sweet Chili Heat, and the room buzzed with excitement. This was no ordinary book club. Everyone did not have to read the same book. The books did not have to be dissected or debated. The idea was simply to present a book and talk about why it was wonderful. The secretary, Miss Anna Moorhouse, dutifully took notes for future reference and entertainment. Everyone had a book they were dying to talk about (Jill usually had several). Long after the books had been passed, people stayed, happy to talk about anything and everything, freed from the shackles of academic discourse.
The KIRBC continued to meet bi-weekly, fortified by tea and delicious baked goods from Jill and Melissa (double underscore) Shaw. Now, although the inaugural members have been forced to part ways, the spirit of the KIRBC lives on. This website is both a representation and a continuation of that spirit.
Want to Start Your Own Chapter?
It’s as Easy as That Pun!
- Invite some people over and tell them to bring a book they LOVE and would recommend. It can be ANY book, and the advocate should be free from taunting, laughter, and threat of impromptu book burning.
- Have people sit in a circle, then go around and each person gets a turn to talk about why they love that book, and often caress it, flip through it, read aloud from it, whatever gets their point across.
- Go around the circle. Digressions and debates are encouraged, though putting down someone’s book generally is not. Positive space, people.
- One person writes down the names and authors of all the books, and keeps a list that can be circulated among the members for handy reference.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat!
If you do start your own chapter somewhere, drop be an email and let me know! We’ll profile you here, and share your wonderful recos with the blogosphere!