Welcome to Book Club!

From: Mandy Mandollin

Date: Tuesday October 20, 2020 12:15 p.m.

To: Lena Packard

Cc: Jane Williams, Karen Josephson, Stephanie Paxton Wells, Rhoda Jergens, George Jergens

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Hello Lena,

Congratulations and welcome to Book Club! As I mentioned on the phone, after spending a few days marinating on applications on our lengthy waitlist, I decided you’re the best fit. To make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible, we do have a couple of rules to go over.

First, we have a round robin system for picking books. Each month a different member is free to pick any book they’d like, except (of course) nothing with explicit erotica, gratuitous violence, too many cuss words (let’s keep it clean and fun), religion, politics, LGBTQ+, or “feminist issues,” including the inability to have babies or having too many babies (it’s a trigger for some of us––lol), nothing too diverse, ethnic, immigration-related or written by foreigners, and definitely not ones about addiction to drugs or alcohol, eating disorders, or anything that’s just too messy. We also don’t like to read genre-type books like horror, or that sci-fi stuff (no, George this isn’t about your pick of Fahrenheit 451––some people actually enjoyed that one), and nothing too fantastical or romancy. No page turners, thrillers or mysteries. I hate to sound like a snob but stuff like that is too low browed for us. When it’s your turn to pick, have fun––I have final authority over the book selection anyway, so you can’t make any bad choices. 🙂

Second rule is to bring plenty of your assigned food or wine item. We rotate the potluck list and there’s only a few things we’ve agreed not to bring. No nuts, gluten, dairy, oil, sugar, fruits, poultry, meat, beans, or grains of any kind. No one is allergic; I just don’t like that stuff––lol. Bring gum to curb cravings. We usually get buzzy and skip the food anyways. As for the wine, Chablis is detestable, Riesling overrated, Pinot Noir should be reserved for homeless people and who the fuck invented Meritage? Am I right? Just keep it simple, along the lines of Caymus, Silver Oak, Screaming Eagle, etc.

Thirdly, we always meet in person. Yes, even during the pandemic. I insist we continue to meet in person. I just can’t imagine not seeing everyone’s smiling faces and excitement over my the book selections. For the last six months I’ve been more than pleased to host Book Club at my house. Jane just had another baby (congrats..again), Steph’s three dogs are too affectionate and I can’t fit my Lexus inside Rhoda and George’s apartment complex parking garage, so it just works out best for everyone. 

The most important rule is to read the book. I’m always able to find time to finish the book early, especially now that I’m retired and continue to live completely and utterly alone. If you can’t read the book, it really just makes me uncomfortable and disrupts the flow of the whole club moving forward. No excuses lol!

Our next meeting is still this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. even though Stephanie asked that we move our book club to Sunday so we could attend her husband’s memorial. But once you start moving dates around, you never get the rhythm back. Of course, Stephanie’s absence will be excused which reminds me of our last rule.

Absences need to be pre-cleared by me with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice. Due to COVID, I’ve been very lenient the last few months about last minute cancels, but there’s only so many excuses I can continue to accept. It’s no fun when it ends up only being me and Jane––lol.

I think that covers it. Welcome to Mandy Mandollin’s Book Club! You can Venmo me your $100 dues which covers the cost of your background check and my books (I do a LOT of work, so we’ve all agreed that it’s only fair the Club covers my book costs).

I’ll let the others introduce themselves over email. We look forward to reading with you!   

Yours in service,

Mandy Mandollin   

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From: Jane Williams

Date: Tuesday October 20, 2020 12:17 p.m.

To: Lena Packard

Cc: Mandy Mandollin, Karen Josephson, Stephanie Paxton Wells, Rhoda Jergens, George Jergens

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Welcome Lena! 

God bless Mandy! She does so much hard work to keep us going together! It’s such a joy and privilege to be a part of this wonderful club! Mandy’s approved book picks are always spot on! I’m just thrilled that I don’t have to read any uncomfortable topics or think about things like war, poverty or racism! I’m sure you’ll enjoy our group too!

Jane!

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From: Karen Josephson

Date: Tuesday October 20, 2020 3:48 p.m.

To: Lena Packard

Cc: Mandy Mandollin, Jane Williams, Stephanie Paxton Wells, Rhoda Jergens, George Jergens

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Hi, I’m not sure why y’all keep emailing me but I’m not in your book club. Could you remove me from this list? This is like the fourth time I’ve asked. Please and thank you. Karen.

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From: Stephanie Paxton Wells

Date: Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:15 a.m.

To: Lena Packard

Cc: Mandy Mandollin, Jane Williams, Karen Josephson,, Rhoda Jergens, George Jergens

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Mike’s Memorial will be this Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. at Our Lord’s Chapel on Paxton Ridge Road. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the church.  

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From: Mandy Mandollin

Date: Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:13 a.m.

To: Lena Packard

Cc: Stephanie Paxton Wells, Jane Williams, Karen Josephson, Rhoda Jergens, George Jergens

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Hi All:

Just a reminder that this email group list is only for Book Club-related business only. 

Thanks so much!

Yours in service,

Mandy Mandollin

—————————————————-  

From: George Jergens

Date: Wednesday October 21, 2020 2:42 p.m.

To: Lena Packard

Subject: Welcome to Book Club!

Lena, 

Run. 

Fast. 

GJ.



Alex Ruby is a former lawyer who lives and writes in Washington, DC. She’s currently working on a thriller novel and a cozy mystery and hoping to complete her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University in 2023.She’s a pet rescue mom who digs cruising DC on her e-bike and reading stories from the slush pile at Flash Fiction Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @AlexRWriter.

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