Between a Ball and Book Club
By Erica Root
Disclaimer: Girls on the Grid received a free copy of It’s a Ball by J. Morgan McGrady. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
It’s a Ball is a self-proclaimed raunchy fictitious novel based on the true life accounts of eight Texan women hoping to become the queens of their local country club tennis court. Many hijinks ensue as these women battle it out to win the league championship. The author of the book – who shares a name with our protagonist — makes the book feel like a personal account of the crazy shenanigans of her and her friends, rather than your traditional novel.
It’s a Ball reads more like a non-fiction ‘how-to’ guide for starting your own country club tennis league. It walks the reader through a series of necessary steps from conception, to picking a team name, to picking a uniform. And while I don’t happen to have any experience in starting my own tennis club team, I do have a little experience building a successful book club.
When I first moved to Sacramento five years ago, I knew exactly one person: my boyfriend. Despite our love for each other, I knew I was going to need a larger social circle if I wanted to be happy in this new town.
One of the first things I did was join MeetUp.com. If you are new to any city, or looking to meet people in the city you’ve lived all your life, this is the place to do it. MeetUp.com allow you to find people nearby who are hiking, reading, socializing – you just have to pick something to join and go from there.
Being the voracious reader that I am, I knew that a book club would be the perfect place to get my feet wet. I could meet other people, read some good books, and get out of the house for something other than work.
And five years later, I can say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Everyone who knows me knows of ‘my book club ladies.’ What started as a monthly book discussion has since flourished into something even more special: a relationship. We’ve had ups and downs, we’ve met each other’s families, there have been births, deaths, and marriages, and everything possible in between.
While reading It’s a Ball I found my reasons for joining and staying in a book club mirror the reasons why the main character founded and played in her tennis league. We even seem to share similarities in making them successful. So if you are looking to start or join a book club, follow these simple steps and I guarantee you’ll have a great time:
“I really think the most addictive trait of women’s recreational tennis is simply the opportunity to socialize with wonderful (and at times not so wonderful) women.”
1)Find Awesome People – this might seem obvious, but I think this is what took my book club from good to great. These aren’t just people I want to see once a month for two hours on a work night at a coffee shop. They are people I want to go wine-tasting with on a Saturday.
“Under the right circumstances, when the stars align just perfectly, magical occurrences unfold as if things were simply meant to be.”
2)Pick Good Books – or at least try to. Sometimes this can be hit or miss. Pull from books and author’s you’ve read before, try a new genre every once and awhile and when that fails, go back to the types of books you founded your book club on in the first place.
“You can tell a lot about a woman when she is drunk. Her innermost feelings are usually revealed in a slurred, unvarnished words that would never be uttered in a sober state of mind.”
3)Drink Wine – it might be bad to advocate for alcohol consumption, but I highly recommend it. It loosens people up and can make you more comfortable getting to know one another.
“It was the perfect democratic method to bump off candidates from the roster and qualify the ones that would meet our high standards.”
4)Protect Your Club from Outsiders – OK, this kind of sounds like an asshole move, but trust me, it’s critical. Everyone in my book club has a profession different from my own. This is awesome because it means I don’t end up talking about politics all day long. I do that for my job and sometimes (okay, most of the time) I want my free time to be about something a little more fun. While I’ve been tempted to bring outside friends into the group, I ultimately never do because I like keep the circle small and free of outside influence.
“To celebrate the auspicious occasion, I decided to hold a small meet & greet cocktail party, “Margaritas and Manicures.” for our new teammates… “
5)Be Classy – book clubs are the perfect place for you to hold that tea party you’ve always wanted to had, but weren’t sure your other friends would think was cool. It’s a group of sophisticated ladies that will encourage you to write thank you letters for everything, because that’s just what people in a book club do.