I always envied the women I knew who were in book clubs. When they would be together in social settings, it was like they shared a secret. And occasionally I would overhear conversations about the current book they were reading or books they planned to read. Lucky them, I would think. Who on earth has time to finish a WHOLE book in one month? I go to bed with grand plans to hunker down for a few chapters… lights low so I don’t disturb the spouse, glass of water and reading glasses perched expectedly on the nightstand, propped up pillows for maximum comfort. And just as I hit my stride on about the 3rd or 4th page in…..
Z z z z z z z z z z. There I am, placing the bookmark on the page as it looks back at me as if to say “Really!? This is as far as you can get?! What’s the point?!”
So, fearing I would never have the literary stamina to be a worthy member of a book club, I decided that all the cutesy cocktail napkins, plaques, and T-shirts must be trying to tell me something!
“We may not always read the book, but my book club can drink your book club under the table!”
“Now be good children and answer the phone if Mommy needs a ride home from book club.”
I didn’t need a book club!! I already had outlets with my gal-pals for wine drinking! Clearly, I wasn’t really missing anything, and I was perfectly fulfilled by my 3-4 good books a year (which I typically chose from the book club section of the local used bookstore) and my non-book-club wine drinking soirees.
Nope. No book clubs for me. Until I received the e-mail from Virginia that said “I’m thinking of starting a book club,” and that was all it took. Now understand….. Virginia, one of my dearest friends, and an amazing writer herself could pretty much ask me to join a “Let’s Golf Naked in February” club and I would do it, so I knew I was in before I even finished reading the subject line of her e-mail. And I must admit, I was excited! I would finally be a part of this 99% female, literary gang network! The best part of Virginia’s invitation was that it was just four other friends in our group, making it a total of only five other people that I would humiliate myself in front of with my inability to read at the required pace.
Also adding to the intrigue was the fact that we had to create our syllabus from scratch! I had always assumed that book clubs met, someone said “This looks good, read it, and we’ll talk next month,” but it turns out there are multiple book club styles.
Our first meeting was scheduled with plans to review the options, talk about everyone’s favorite authors and genres and have some wine. (I know, I know…. We are a bit of a cliché but if you can’t beat ‘em…)
Our first gathering was a real treat! We talked about favorite authors, memorable books, what we love and what we don’t like one single bit! We discussed writers’ styles and used big words, and I was simply invigorated! All those napkins and hand towels led me to believe that book clubs were basically mini wine-tastings, full of gossip with just a smidge of book talk thrown in. We were just the opposite! It was so much fun to learn, from friends that I had known for years, what kind of books they devoured and what they wouldn’t touch.
I am happy to say that being in a book club has surprised me in several ways. Mainly, I CAN read a book a month! Downloading them onto my telephone a couple of times really helped because then I can squeeze in a chapter here and there and not just at bedtime.
I’ve been surprised by the conversations that we have shared about our books and their authors. Sure, we go down the rabbit hole sometimes because something from Maggie’s favorite passage of a book inevitably reminds Catherine of a passage from her favorite book which reminds Rita of a disturbing short story she read which reminds me to refill our wine glasses.
After all, you know what they say… Book Club: reading between the wines.
The Lazy Susans share a bottle of champagne with Author John Hart the night his 6thbook, The Hush, hit the NY Times bestsellers list.
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The Lazy Susans’ 2018 Reading List
March: King of Lies by John Hart
April: A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson
May: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
June: Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
July was vacation month – no assignment!
August: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
September: Many Lives, Many Masters by Bryan Weiss
October: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
November: Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silva