The Secret History
The Encyclopedia Galactica describes a book group as “a collection of individuals who regularly gather to discuss the finer points of literature over a cup of tea and a good fairy cake.”
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy describes book groups to be “a bunch of zany froods who pick random books to read and generally do a lot of drinking”, citing the cautionary tale of when Zaphod Beeblebrox inadvertently gate-crashed a meeting of the Brixton Book Group which was being held on the planet earth, not long after the planet’s inadvertent demolition and subsequent reconstruction following a clerical error over the placement of a hyper-space bypass. Beeblebrox’s attendance resulted in the entire group going on a week long bender after he insisted on mixing a particularly strong batch of pan-galactic gargle blasters, which he passed off as ‘just another new hipster craft ale’. During this epic drinking session the group utilised Beeblebrox’s erratic time-jumping ship the Heart of Gold to solve some of the burning questions raised by their book choices, which among other things, resulted in Will Self being marooned in a parallel dimension inhabited by super intelligent monkeys who spoke in cockney accents because, “he was annoying”.
Following this the Galactic Council has banned the use of inter-dimensional travel to settle literary grievances, partly to conserve the integrity of the time-space continuum, but mostly because Pete forgot to email them back. At this point the guide adds a footnote pointing out that this legislation also outlaws the childish practice of galactic citizens nefariously editing the Wikipedia entries on planets that have yet to achieve interstellar travel.
The book for next time is the Secret History by Donna Tartt and the next meeting will be in the Effra Social, located on a small blue green planet orbiting an unregarded yellow sun on the western spiral arm of the galaxy at 7.30pm on the 13th of November. Small green furry creatures from Alpha Centuri, hyper-intelligent shades of the colour purple and all other carbon based life are welcome.
Runners up included: Proust (which if you want to consider as a long read, do) Flashman, Dracula, Birdsong, The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James, The Miniaturist and the Picture of Dorian Grey.