Right now I'm in three different book clubs, but I don't always attend all of the meetings. However, I saw last week that one was coming up on Sunday the 7th, so I glanced at the e-mail thread, procured the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and blocked off my weekend calendar so I could quickly read it before the meeting.
I spent Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon reading the entire book. I really, really liked it and couldn't wait to have a discussion about it with the book club.
Caramel cake was mentioned repeatedly throughout the book, so I decided to track down a recipe and make one to bring with me. I choose this one from Cooking Light. I'd never made a caramel cake before (nor even heard of one, to be honest), but I followed the directions to the letter (except that I made a sheet cake instead of a layer cake due to lack of proper baking pans) and it turned out absolutely wonderfully.
I was a little early to the meeting, so the hostess and I had a few minutes to talk in the kitchen before everyone else arrived. One of the first things I said to her was, "I really enjoyed the book!"
She'd chosen this month's book, so she excitedly started telling me how different it was to read it now compared to when she was in her twenties. A little alarm bell went off in my head because I was pretty sure that "The Help" had only recently been published.
Then she began naming her favorite characters and scenes and I had absolutely NO idea what she was talking about. The other book club members arrived just as it was sinking in that I'd read the wrong book.
I grabbed my phone and looked up the e-mail chain again. It turned out that I'd read the book that had been selected for May. Not March, not April, but May. It would be two months before I could have my much-anticipated discussion of the book I'd just finished.
The book I should have read was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. You'd think with my English degree I'd have read it at some point in the past, but somehow I missed that one. So, yes, I sat through an entire discussion of a book I knew absolutely nothing about.
Needless to say, everyone in the club was initially a bit confused about how I'd been inspired to bake a caramel cake based on the book under discussion. However, it turned out that there actually was a mention of a caramel cake in one scene. It seems like a very random coincidence, but since both books are set in the South, the odds were in my favor.
So that's the story of how I discovered a delicious new dessert, revealed myself to one of my book clubs as a complete dingbat, and listened in on a very confusing discussion. It could happen to anyone, right?