“What I had come to love about book club (besides the fabulous desserts and free liquor) was how in hearing so many opinions about the same book, your own opinion expanded, as if you’d read the book several times instead of just once.” —Lorna Landvik
“A few years back, when I finally got smart enough to go to a therapist, she asked me how I had held things together all these years. It didn’t take long to come up with an answer. ‘That’s easy. I belong to a book club.’”
Oh, how I wish I had written that! I borrowed it from “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons,” the last book my club read. But it’s kind of like giving a greeting card: their words, your feelings.
I’m a proud geek of sorts, as I assume the term “book club” conjures up a pretty distinct image in some people’s minds. Book worm? Word nerd? I accept either.
“Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons,” may be that blanket image. My group has been angry, but I can’t recall anyone serving bon bons (yet). Having read books with topics from politics to heaven, I like to think of us as simply better off.
Better off than we were before we became a group sharing our appetite for stories. Better off than we would be without finding a few hours per month to share a drink or dessert around a table. Better off than we were before we saw each other through surgery, pregnancy, graduations, jobs, divorce, and generally crappy days.
In nearly six years we’ve managed to put away 60 books as a group. (And a roughly estimated 100 platters of snacks, 300 cups of coffee and a few bottles of wine).
That makes us better off than we were before we took on stories about the holocaust, religion, Alzheimer’s, politics, child trafficking, horses, nuns, murder, aliens and autism.
A lot to take in with one point of view. Try it with six or seven. For some books on our list, opinions mesh. Others, not even close. And some don’t make it past the chopping block, from one personal axe or another.
I am sure that every one of us, past and present members alike, would say that we read something we would have never chosen on our own.
Like all relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve all gotten bored with the routine, missed a meeting here or there because we were tired or just not in the mood.
But, also like most relationships, if we’re in a rut, it’s a mental one. It’s not the end, it’s just time to take inventory and spice it up a little. Maybe try something we haven’t before, even if a book seems pointless or the topic is controversial.
There are a hundred excuses to stay home. Our current members have 16 kids between us. That’s a lot of homework, ballgames, bedtimes and occasional flu symptoms to work around.
We hold down jobs, serve on volunteer boards, do laundry and make dinner. (Is it any wonder we’re occasionally angry?)
These stats make us the norm among the adult population, nothing new there. What makes us different is when we make dinner for our families before walking out the door, we throw together an extra chocolate or cheesy-something-or-other, and firmly explain to our families that “No, this is not for you, it’s for book club.”
They feel temporary jilted; we kiss them and secretly smile.
“When will you be back?” they ask as we close the door behind us.
After my session.
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