Mrs Short Tony hands over a thick paperback. It transpires that the LTLP has been lured in to joining the Village Women’s Book Group.

I am pleased about this. The LTLP does not get out much, as she is always tired and stressed after her hard day at work. It will be nice for her to have another interest. I sometimes worry that her quite internationally-important and high-level professional role comes at the expense of the social life that she would want.

“When is the next meeting?” I ask.

“Next Thursday.”

I look at her crossly. We are meant to be playing a snooker match on Thursday and this means that I will have to drop out. It is annoying. I have been busting my guts out at home looking after the house and talking to the cleaner and making plans for the chickens whilst the LTLP pisses around with her mates in an office. I take the book and promise to pass it on.

I do not speak to the LTLP for several days, whilst she glues herself to the book. This happened with the last book she read, which was the ‘da Vinci Code’. At one point I try suggesting that she reads a few more books a bit more regularly but a bit less intently, but she tells me to shut up and make her tea and that she might take me up on that, but for men. I stomp off.

It is clear from the odd glance over her shoulder that it is a dreadful book, which has been tightly plotted by a genius and then written by a jobbing spider monkey. The descriptions are all horribly obvious, and the dialogue plumbs the depths of clunkiness.

“There is such clunky dialogue in this book that you are currently reading, which has been selected as this month’s choice for the Village Women’s Book Group,” I complain. But she is lost in her own world.

I am a literary snob. I would not expect Mrs Short Tony, Mrs Eddie, Mrs Len the Fish, Mrs Martin the IT Consultant etc. to go for Shakespeare or whatever, as he was famously no good at giving female characters identities in their own right. I should not be so judgmental. She enjoyed it, and will enjoy the literary and cultural discussion around it, and that’s what counts.

The LTLP arrives home late on Thursday evening, really pissed.

33 thoughts on ““What’s this?” I ask suspiciously.

  1. Richard says:

    I fear this to be some form of retribution, Jonny. It’s very dangerous allowing them to have hobbies like this.

  2. BOSSY says:

    Bossy is like a literary snob without the books.

  3. Rachel Green says:

    So what was the book?

  4. .. the anguish of the Ignored Male. I recognised the signs immediately.

  5. smudger says:

    I agree with Richard.Thin end of the wedge mate.

  6. ‘Tis a special man who gives up snooker for a partner’s book group. I am altogether uncertain if such a sacrifice would be forthcoming chez nous!

  7. guyana gyal says:

    “The LTLP arrives home late on Thursday evening, really pissed.”

    I bet you’re pleased.

    Yes, I sense gleeful glee.

  8. Megan says:

    Nah guyana gal – obviously the LTLP and her intelligent friends have located their book club at the pub and Jonny is offended that she, once a month or so, will be returning home in the condition that he has so effectively made his own.

  9. smudger says:

    I need to read through the archives before I post again.I don,t even know what LTLP stands for .

  10. Brennig says:

    s Short Tony hands over a thick paperback. It transpires that the LTLP has been lured in to joining the Village Women’s Book Group.

    Outrage that there doesn’t seem to be a Village Men’s Book Group!

  11. brian says:

    That’s the sort of literary and cultural discussion I like too.

  12. brian says:

    Long Term Life Partner, Smudger. Do try and keep up.

  13. Gina says:

    Pissed as in annoyed,pissed as having pissed about too much in the office or pissed as in inebriated?

  14. Sewmouse says:

    Aw, Brennig – how much can the men of the village really have to discuss about the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated?

  15. Pat says:

    I’m with you Jonny – culturally speaking – with regard to that Da Vinci rubbish. couldn’t get past the first couple of pages.

  16. Fanto says:

    The book club seems to be made up of all the spouses of the snooker club. So surely they would be unable to make it along as well?

    Or is it that they are kept on a longer leash than you Johnny?

    If they are, I can understand why.

    And Gina, I reckon the LTLP’s case was one of extreme refreshment rather than anything else if my experience of such cultural discussions is anything to go by.

  17. mb says:

    i can tell you’re not a rugby player. If you were you’d have used this opportunity to dress in drag just to join the book club.

  18. Léonie says:

    I suspect that the LTLP and cohorts are forming a rival snooker team. I don’t wish to plant seeds of doubt, but I’m just saying. Be afraid.

  19. You taught LTLP to read, Jonny? Made a rod for your own back there, I’m afraid.

    As I recall, you had your chance to join the Book Club, but pulled out when you realized it was all girls. What a clot you are. As the lone male amongst so much desperate commuter-widow totty, even a pathetic specimen like yourself would’ve been able to score. A couple of glasses of wine, a few chapters of some trashy bodice ripper, and presto – they’re all sitting in puddles as the rosé-goggles turn your pale and flabby form into a broad-chested pirate. Now instead you get to sit at home on snooker night while LTLP and the rest go lezza. That’ll teach you…

  20. JonnyB says:

    Hullo smudger and welcome!!!

    The book group meets in the Village Pub, yes. It might seem a bit odd. But it is a community facility.

    With a bar. And crisps.

  21. guyana gyal says:

    Oho Megan, that kind of pissed.

  22. Eddie 2-Sox says:

    In response to Fanto. Most of the snooker team are fat knackers with no dependent children. JB is probably the only member of that “sport” team with a child who needs looking after at home. That still shouldn’t affect things overmuch, with use of a modern invention called “babysitters”.

    With her now possibly going out to get paraletic every week, I really hope Mrs JB isn’t my doctor. She might be. Is her name Colin?

  23. JonnyB says:

    Only at weekends.

  24. “There is such clunky dialogue in this book that you are currently reading, which has been selected as this month’s choice for the Village Women’s Book Group,” I complain.

    Nice one. Gentle irony can be a satisfying, yet futile, stealth weapon.

  25. spazmo says:

    I must say that “making plans for the chickens” is a phrase that utterly chills me to the bone…

  26. JR says:

    Hi there, I discovered this blog recently, love it lots, so I’ve linked to you. Pls do tell me if you have any objections. 🙂

  27. Pat says:

    ‘Only at weekends.’ Sometimes Jonny I have to admit you make me LOL.

  28. JonnyB says:

    Hullo JR and welcome!!! Of course not, and thank you.

  29. Women do not actually read you know. It is most likely to a guide to do what they do best… talk. About men.

    Culture, smulture.

    Love the blog btw!


  30. JonnyB says:

    Hullo G.I.M and welcome – and thank you.

    I am sure it is different in the city where people commute on the train. That is where books are read.

  31. Duck says:

    So what was the book?

  32. mykiss says:

    I’m disappointed in you … you didn’t do the ‘sex here and here’ pointing for LTLP! Shame on you!

  33. vino-collapso says:

    Hello All,

    Books & Booze…. not for the educated laideez shurley…pass me the pink pino dear boy… this ones drained itself away… now where was I Ahh yes… LTLP, Books & Booze….next stop will be Anne Summers Club & Booze… stay at home for that one JonnyBoy….. will be your birthday & Xmas rolled into one…

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