Since 2004, I have spent at least one Sunday a month with my book club. I had to call my friend, Rebecca, to figure this out. Isn't that telling enough? It's been a constant in my life for so long, I don't remember when it started. We narrowed it down by determining what we read in hardback and what major events occurred during that 1st year. Possibly it was a blur to me because 2004 was the year that my daughter was born. The key event that helped us figure it out was Hurricane Charley and the simultaneous read of Atwood's dystopic Oryx and Crake being discomforting for one member.
We aren't a serious book club as we discovered early in our meetings. Some people left because we weren't cerebral enough. We do dedicate ourselves to reading quite a variety of books and eating a good meal together. Although people come in and out of the book club, most of the members have been the same, the core. Not only is a great way to connect with friends that you don't quite see as often as you like, but it is a good way to read out of your comfort zone. Currently we have a few English teachers, a biology teacher, an athletic trainer, computer engineer now teacher, an accountant, and a massage therapist, a diverse group. We range in age from the twenties to the seventies.
Early on there was some mumbling of rules by members who cared about such things, those types of people too have disappeared. Perfect attendance not being a necessity. After an ultimate tournament in Savannah, Georgia, I made it my mission to make it back for boo club by the last half hour at 8 pm. We have Skyped with a member in Japan. The only real rule is that you should just come, even if you haven't read the book. You should come, especially in those months that you haven't been able to read the book. Those are the times that you need the club the most.
More important than the reads are the lifelines we have created. We have witnessed times worthy of great celebration, graduations, birthdays, and great sorrow, including loss of limb and even death. Books and our membership have helped us channel our emotions, think more deeply about life, consider perspective, and create an invisible tether among us that hold us when we are not strong.
Most people would come up with a list of their favorites, I am just giving superlatives to the most ignoble or most memorable:
Book I Don't Think I Will Ever Get to the End of:
Uncle Tungsten by Louis Sachs
Most Frivolous Read:
The Turtle Mound Mystery By Mary Clay
Book that Took Me The Longest to Complete (1 year):
The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
Most Unappreciated Read:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Book that Was Proclaimed to be for Harry Potter Fan's But Really Wasn't:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Book That Gave me the Complete License to Never Mow A Lawn aka the Freedom Lawn: Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes
Book Representing the Genre, Snarky Memoirs, That I Discovered I Don't Like:
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
Most Universally Hated By All Members:
A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Book That Encouraged the Most Talk About Mothering and Breastfeeding:
State of Wonder by Ann Pachett
Book I Wished That We Had Read for Book Club But Didn't:
Garden Spell By Sarah Addison Allen