“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Although it’s not always easy to juggle the time (or read that many books) I am lucky enough to belong to three book clubs. Just as the members themselves differ from one another in personality, so do the groups. There are varying merits, formats, and viewpoints in each and I wouldn’t want to give up any one of them.
Two of the groups meet on specified dates on the calendar; the third “floats” and meets on whatever day works best for the hostess. One venue consistently starts at 3 p.m. with book discussion followed by “happy hour” refreshments. The second group meets for brunch or lunch or afternoon tea, depending on what the hostess prefers. The third group always meets for dinner. That hostess provides the entree and everyone else brings appetizers (deemed “appies”), salads, desserts and wine, the latter assuredly being a common denominator in all three groups.
“What's the point of
having a book club
if you don't get to
eat brownies and
Author Kristin Hannah said: “Books + Friendship = Book Club.” I would elaborate by adding: Book Club Friendships = comfort zone = trust = safety = honesty = meaningful conversation.
In each case, the hostesses pick the book. There are really no rules or guidelines about that so the range of what we read is across-the-board. Without question, we end up reading books we probably would not have read otherwise, and the best part is talking about it and exchanging opinions. When discussing a book with a group, one of the noteworthy things is the different points of view; sort of the literary equivalent of “one person’s ceiling is another person’s floor.” Within that mentioned comfort zone, we can feel free to say we don’t care for a book that others may be enthusiastic about without worrying about being offensive; respecting disparities is essential for good group dynamics.
Although book preferences tend to be slightly different between the groups, all of them read both fiction and nonfiction and over the years we’ve read books ranging from “Wolf Hall” to “The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.” All three groups recently selected A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Toles, which everyone liked. One hostess opted to serve Russian fare for dinner which added greatly to the ambiance and fun.”
A few years ago, I chose The Faith Club, a book about three women; Jewish, Christian and Muslim, who form a friendship on the playground and decide to write something for their children to explain the difference in their religious beliefs. In the process, they end up discovering a great deal about themselves.