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.
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…
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
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