For many
years I wanted to be in a book club but I was always too busy and didn’t have the time.  What I had were visions
of leisurely reading book after book and the pleasures of discussing each books’ characters and plots with a group of like-minded women who would never cease to shed
light on the books’ deeper meanings.   If
I‘d had a “bucket list” back then, being in a book club would have been on it!

I am so
happy to tell you that my visions came true a year ago when I joined the “We
Read for Wine Book Club.”  Just the name
tells you a lot, doesn’t it?  Each month
for the past year I have had the joy of getting to know a great group of women
who graciously host book club meetings in their homes during the year;
there are currently eight of us and that covers most of our meetings except the
one in December when we dine out and enjoy exchanging gifts of books over a
good meal with wine.

The book
club has been such a great experience that I thought I would write about it in
case you have been considering joining one yourself.  What have been the benefits to me of being in
a book club? Let me count the ways…

  1. If you love reading as much as I do then that
    is the number one reason to join a club; we have read some books I might never
    have noticed, and some others I have always wanted to read but had never made
    time to. We have read current best sellers
    along with old classics and the pleasure of reading for enrichment is now a constant in my
  2. Reading the same book and discussing
    it as a group provides intellectual stimulation, and gives me insights I might
    miss if I were reading it alone.
      Group discussion
    provides the opportunity to dig in and discover fascinating similarities and
    differences in the interpretations of characters’ motivations and actions.
  3. Breaking bread with friends and
    talking about ideas has to be one of the oldest rituals known to human beings;
    it’s lasted over the centuries because it is so pleasurable.
      In the book club, we don’t always agree that a book is well
    written or that the story is intriguing; and that makes it fun.
      We sometimes agree that a book is irritating
    in some ways and that’s fun, too.
      Our lively and engaged conversations create a feeling of companionship and comfort that is
    nourishing to my soul.
  4. The women in my book club are good
    cooks; we are all foodies and enjoy many types of food; we talk as much about
    the food some nights as we do the book we’ve read that month!
      I have had some amazing meals, and added many
    wonderful new recipes to my cooking delights.
    Talk about a secondary gain!
  5. When it’s time to choose books for
    the coming year, we each propose three and give a short presentation about why
    we have chosen each one; it’s fun to nominate personal favorites, or new books
    that I have loved, so that others can enjoy them with me. And even after we’ve
    chosen the 11 books we’re going to read for the year, I have a much fuller list
    of ones we didn’t select.
      Some of them still
    interest me enough to read them on my own based on the endorsements of fellow
    club members.

So, if you have been
thinking of joining a book club, do it. 
It will be one of the best gifts you will ever give yourself.  As a bonus of this blog, here’s a list of
some of my favorite books that we’ve read this year:

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple

Happy reading!