Your book club
may have had several luminous AHA! Moments
but has it yet experienced its Winged Monkey
It usually goes like this: The time comes when a fellow club member proposes that an actual stranger ? someone you do not know ? wishes to scale the heights of your keep, swim across your moat, and simultaneously lob muffin baskets and book suggestions from those new authors at The Believer or the Defamer, or whatever it is they call themselves. Your immediate reaction is to go into Winged Monkey mode. You have sworn to serve and protect each other, and now you must deliberate, debate, and consider a new person. Will the club's balance of power change? Will new leaders emerge? Is this a good thing? Scary times.
Knowing the rough terrain as you do, how best to even suggest a new member to a club that LOATHES and FEARS anyone or anything new? Consider this template, complete with helpful hints. Only you will know which answer will send all the right messages to the club.
Dear (Lord High Executioners, Honored Consiglieres or Friends Forever, right?):
I'm writing to inquire as to the appropriateness and likelihood of my bringing a potential new book club member, pending of course rigorous scrutiny and the usual impossible initiation rituals. She is a good (friend, colleague from HQ or buddy from that disastrous Everest run, remember?). Her name is (Countess Olenska, Gayle King, or "I'll tell you when I see you") and I can attest to her (character, starter castle or certificate thing from the Sorbonne). She works as (an adventuress, investment banker/philanthropist or Powerball kingpin). Plus, like (name of popular member, your fearless leader or recently moved-away but still remembered way too fondly member), she hails from (exclusive town, notorious enclave or any place where Harper Lee ever lived or set foot in). Whether this is in her favor or not is up for discussion.
She has read the book and found it ("incandescent," "lyrical" or "just great"). Oh, she has recently returned from (Beijing, the Everglades or Versailles) and can't wait to share her (experiences, slides or Charlotte Malakoff Aux Fraises) with you.
Your (humble, groveling, toadying) (friend, supplicant, defender no matter what).
Update: This initiate's application is still pending, but it's looking good.