It was on my bucket list. One of many items. Join a book club. It would be likely the first activity I would take up when I retire. That was my plan, at least.
In my mind’s eye it would be a gentle exchange of perceptions and ideas and challenges among kindly people who appreciated literature. That was my vision, sort of.
Well, I am not retired but three years ago I was invited to join a book club. I must have expressed my bucket list item to Janet Taylor who was retiring from Georgian College. We were at Rose Adams’ wedding and chatting over nibblies and wine between ceremony and dinner. Janet and I were journalism students at Ryerson together in the 60’s, and our lives have touched each other every now and then for the past 40 years. Now they touch each other every month.
So I went to my first book club evening, feeling a lot like the new kid in kindergarten. I didn’t know whether I was truly a member or this was a look-see for them and for me. At any rate, 11 women arrived more or less at the same time and jammed into the living room of the hostess who laid out a buffet dinner which embraced the theme of the book.
And then the discussion started. These women had selected a year’s worth of reading, stating cases for their choices and honing the final list. Somebody volunteered to be secretary to keep us more or less herded in the same direction and we were supplied with a list of books and a list of hostesses.
Because there are 12 members of the book club, there’s (conveniently) a hostess for each month. And a book for each month. Many of the members read much more than the one book a month. Some hardly get through the prescribed book. And the young mom in our midst is challenged to even get through her day much less host dinner, hold down a job, and get through a book. She’s really the wonder woman.
If you’re reading this on Thursday (the day it appears in The Examiner) then I’m at Vi Peacock’s house with my book club members. The book we’re discussing is James Rollins Amazonia and I cannot give it a five-word description. Way too complex. Sort of a combination of eco-frenzy-drug-warred-chase-and-killing-in-the-inner-jungles-of-the-Amazon-rainforest-with-hyped-up-wildlife-of-mammoth-size. The member who suggested the book is the one leading the discussion. I’m looking forward to this!
This leads me to briefly share why belonging to a book club is a lovely thing. Absolutely number one is the diversity of the people who belong. While we’re all female and all have careers, the similarity ends there. Our ages span more than 40 years. That different-ness brings with it unique perspectives on life and how it’s lived and on books and how they’re written. We are an angled group, that’s for sure, mostly self employed and very definitely with sturdy opinions.
Second best part of being a book club member is that I would never choose half the books we read. I’d stick to historical fiction and biographies, which are my emphatic reading usually. So belonging to a book club has given me a good run at Hunger Games, all the Dragon-tattoed-girl-from-Sweden-books (and I have no desire to see the movies), The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb, Lisa Genova’s remarkable books about specific illness, and the 1600-page Sacajawea which I absolutely loved. To be challenged is always a good thing.
Third in the line of reasons to belong to a book club is the discipline of setting and meeting a deadline. While our daily lives have lots of deadlines, this one is for pleasure and it’s a welcome deadline in my books (no pun intended). I feel quite lucky to have this opportunity to achieve a bucket list item right now!
Thanks, Janet, for thinking of me.