Guest moderator walks in late: "Wow, this is a big group, more than I expected."
Nervous laughter from the twelve of us group members. There were actually more people there than usual. I think it's because the book is kind of different and pretty popular.
No introduction. Who is this guy anyway? "So what do you guys usually do at these things?"
More nervous laughter from the group, followed by a really uncomfortable silence when we realized that he had asked a serious question.
Oldest woman in the room and long-time book club veteran: "Usually the moderator will give us a bio of the author, a little bit about their life and what other things they have done or books they have written."
All eyes turn back to the "moderator": "Well you guys pretty much know all about her life from reading this book anyway, right?"
Old woman: "Then she usually has a list of questions to facilitate the discussion and get it started."
"Well I don't have any of those....so let's just turn it to you guys, what did you think of the book?"
Finally, after we all looked around at each other for what seems like hours, someone started talking and the discussion got rolling...albeit painfully slow. It did pick up after few more minutes and ended up being a pretty good discussion--no thanks to the "moderator" who ended up admitting that the reason he volunteered to moderate this particular discussion was because when he saw the movie, he was dating a Persian woman who was explaining things to him as they watched the movie together. After he said this, there was another sequence of nervous laughter followed by uncomfortable silence when we realized he was serious. (To clarify and be fair, he had actually read the book also.)
I have really never been in a more awkward and socially painful group situation.
By the way, the book was Persepolis. It's really good (better than the movie, I've heard), you should read it.