Feed Your Soul: Join a Book Club

feed your soulOriginal Post September 12, 2011

I’m just home from our first book club meeting since we broke for summer. I feel compelled to sell you on the idea of joining or starting a book club.

I really never suspected I would feel such passion for a book club, but after my first full year as a member, I consider my involvement as a necessary part of my being.

Let me tell you about my club.  Continued in Read More

I always leave our meetings, full. Not just physically, though the food is always wonderful. We joke about our hosts’ many declarations about keeping the menu “simple”.

That’s what our host, L___ said today, yet she had no less than eight dishes on the table, some of which would have easily fed us all on their own. She apologized for not having gotten around to grilling some pork tenderloin. We do love our food!

The best “full” feeling does not come from my stomach, though. It’s the fun of sharing our triumphs and tragedies.  We had our share this year.

Many of us vacationed at our cottages or friends’ cabins. We laughed about the fabulous summer experiences we had, the great walks, the beauty we shared with friends and family.

Then there were the tragedies. C____ announced her son’s marriage is over after less than a year. Our hearts ached as she shared the hurt she feels because she loves her daughter-in-law as she would a daughter. Her son’s heart is broken and we can all empathize with a mother’s pain from the broken heart of her child.

D____’s 17 year-old-son was killed in a freak accident. I‘ve thought about her everyday this summer. Losing a child (or grandchild) is about the only life experience I truly dread. It’s the one thing I doubt I could endure.

D____ came to book club today. I wasn’t sure she would but it was sure good to see her. As we took our turns hugging her (for we always greet with hugs) I felt privileged to witness the genuine outpouring of love that overflowed from their beings as my fellow members expressed their condolences. It’s a snapshot in my mind that I know I will carry around for a while, maybe forever.

The result of this is I’m overwhelmed with emotions and find myself exploring paths in my mind, paths that I would not be walking down, if it weren’t for book club.

Our book club meets the first Sunday of every month unless it’s a holiday.

I once read a book called, “No, I don’t want to Join a Book Club”, a novel, extolling the virtues of NOT being beholden to a bunch of bibliophiles.

But our group is not like that. Sometimes we don’t all finish the book. Sometimes it’s time commitments, other times it’s a struggle to read the book.

But no matter. We often end up talking about the issues arising from the book, issues that are pertinent to us all, and which lend themselves to discussion, regardless of whether one has read the book.

Quite often we spend a great deal of time talking about other books we’ve read since we last met. Being the end of summer, there were lots of titles tossed around. I had to fetch my list of “books to read”; some were so glowingly endorsed, I couldn’t risk forgetting.

Then we talk about books we intend to read for our own enjoyment or for the club. Our next title is Lolita, by Vladimir Nabukov. I read it in 2007 and highly recommend it. Strangely, I felt that my understanding of certain things was somehow transformed by being inside the mind of a pedophile. The discussion will be rich next month!

One of the joys of reading a great book is to discuss it with somebody else. I have few people in my life that share my passion for reading so my book club ladies fill that vital role in my life. It’s so satisfying to share and receive insight about a writer’s words, especially since I am a writer. I feel these discussions help me be a better reader and writer.

Because of my involvement with book club I have read books I never would have chosen to read. And I have enjoyed them; some have even been life-changing in some small way.

Reading books broadens one’s horizons and I like to enhance that by getting reading suggestions from a variety of people. I learned this year that my book club is a wealth of knowledge on good books to read. If only I had time to read them all!

We pass around books amongst ourselves, which helps the reading budget. I contributed five books this week. I borrowed L____’s copy of The Help from her extensive home library.  So many have recommended it I must read it immediately!

My book club is a community, a small one, but a community nonetheless. We “know” (even if we haven’t met them) and care about each other’s children and spouses. We celebrate the weddings and graduations and cry over the divorces and deaths.

Book club is a safe place to talk about hopes and dreams because their support is heartfelt and unwavering. It touched me to learn that S___ is one of my faithful blog readers.

Of course we also have the fluffy talk, like where D____ bought that cute dress and let’s see the dress S_____ is wearing to her daughter’s grad and oh, we can see the daughter’s dress too!

Sorry, there are no spaces available in our club. But there are book clubs everywhere.

Or you could start one. It’s not hard. Meet for coffee once a month. Talk about the book. Choose one for next month. Read it. Meet for coffee again next month. (Caution: our group apparently started as coffee, then went to dessert, and now we seem to have full-blown multi-course meals.  I think it’s because these people have become family and you FEED family!)

And if you think you don’t have time to join a book club, let me suggest this: If you watch one less hour of television each day, you will have 30 extra hours per month. Two hours (or maybe four, if you’re the host) for book club meeting and 26 to 28 hours to read the book.

There is no reason not to read books with others.  Your soul will thank you.

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