I’ve always wanted to have a book club. Some group of friends, who love literature as much as I do, sitting around, discussing a book, drinking wine. It’s like my romanticized version of my Honors and AP English study groups — but with alcohol. (Yes, I enjoyed my Honors and AP English study groups. We once, while studying for a particularly hard test, called our senior AP teacher and left a message of us all yelling “The Horror, the Horror!” into her answering machine. We thought we were so awesome.)
So, I finally “joined” a book club! And by joining I mean…I created one. The first thing I did was call my soon-to-be-sister-in-law (man, is that a cumbersome title) Suzy and say, “Hey. If I started a book club, would you join?” I figured if I had at least one other person on board, I could start an email to other interested people saying: There has been some interest in starting a book club. And it wouldn’t be a lie.
But believe it or not, I actually had some solid interest. And tonight 8 of us gathered at my house to talk about my BOOK ONE of this literary adventure — The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was an eclectic group of people — five of us are in the educational field: Two English teachers, a PE/Health teacher, a school counselor, and an elementary school librarian (whose quote of the night was, “Do all high school teachers swear this much?”); then we have a physical therapist, a person who works in PR, and the manager of a free health clinic.
And maybe I’m biased (since they’re all my friends), but I thought the night went really well! I mean we a) actually talked about the book b) had good conversations about said book and c) laughed a lot. My greatest fear would be that these 8 woman would sit around awkwardly while I tried to facilitate discussions. Maybe I’ve spent so much of my time talking to 17 year-old kids that I forgot that people who like to read and are in a book club will actually talk about what they’ve read! Imagine!!
What I loved the most is these women reminded me that when I read in my own little bubble, I miss things. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is not going to become my favorite book — my review remains. But as I listened to everyone tonight, I thought, “Huh. I didn’t see it that way. That’s powerful.” And it made me so viscerally aware that reading as a community is important! As I read through the world in 80 books, I’m mostly alone — plugging along, reading, writing my reviews. I don’t mind adding a few more books to my journey this year (okay, 11 more) if it means that I get to spend time talking about them with smart, witty, fun, awesome women.