Book club

How the Jilly Cooper Book Club turned toxic

The Jilly Cooper Book Club was set up about a decade ago by two friends who’d had enough of book groups where someone would insist, ‘We really must do Dostoevsky this year.’ Members of the JCBC, in a co-founder’s words, just wanted to get together to ‘drink champagne and shriek about Jilly’. ‘Book clubs are basically Mean Girls for middle-class women’ For some time, I stalked key members on Twitter before managing to wangle an invitation. My first meeting was at a large townhouse in Clapham to discuss Rivals. There was a lot of champagne and a gaggle of smart, entertaining women. One was wearing a Vivienne Westwood corset dress;

Dear Mary: how to leave a boring book club

Q. I am organising a funeral for a close relative and am puzzled that some people wish to attend the wake but not the service of committal at the crematorium. My view is that if you want to enjoy the wake, which will be a good party in a perfect country pub, then you should be willing to pay your respects first. Should I simply not inform these people in advance of the wake venue, since it is usual for this to be revealed only at the funeral on the order of service sheet? – Name and address withheld A. You could reply: ‘We haven’t quite sorted out the wake