Awhile back I posted that I was considering starting a book club in our neighborhood. I'd hoped we had one already up and running. Alas, we did not.
So I put the word out through our neighborhood website and the few women I knew. Was anyone interested? I gauged interest and read two books on HOW to start a book club, and scheduled a first get-together.
I'm so happy to say that as of this week we're up and running! We spent two and a half hours going through the mechanics of it all. Charter members get to decide the hows of everything, which we did while sipping wine and tea, and eating little frosted cookies. Everyone needs an excuse, now and then, to eat those cookies that are 25% butter and flour, and 75% thick, gooey frosting.
Eight of us, so far, will start meeting this coming September, at each other's homes, and we'll spend half our time yakking and half of it talking about the book. At least that's the plan.
Here's our not-quite-completed book list:
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce (available today on Kindle for $1.99 BTW)
The Borderland, Edwin Schrake (Texas history)
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg
Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
Killing Lincoln, Bill O'Reilly
We've got two slots left, and two members who didn't make the meeting, so they'll get to suggest books for us. Our parameters were no science fiction (I just read Time Machine!), nothing gory, no bodice ripping romances, and avoid intense political and religious discussions if possible.
One of our members has been in another book club for 12 years, and she said one of the biggest benefits is that she reads books she'd never choose on her own. I've already read two of the books on our list, and will enjoy re-reading them, and discussing them. I've never read anything by Bill O'Reilly, so that should be interesting. The other books on the list I have never even heard of, and it's always fun to get to know a new author.
So there you go - our 18ish years old neighborhood has a book club for the very first time. Makes me feel a little like that girl, 50 odd years ago, standing at the corner of my street, and taking a step up into the Bookmobile. All those shelves full of books, and I could take any of them I wanted home with me, as long as it wasn't more than three at a time.
The club's readings for this year will take me to a small English village, through the state of Texas in the mid 1800's, the coast of Italy in the 1960's, throughout the midwest and beyond, during the 1940's, 19th century China and Washington D.C. during the spring of 1865.
All this for the cost of dinner for two at Chili's - under $40.
I have no memories of learning to read, of struggling over words, sounding them out. Somewhat like being married and being a mother, I barely remember otherwise. I do have vivid memories of hours and hours spent at the local library, walking up and down the aisles, pondering all the books on the shelves. The wonderment that I can take any of them home with me has never paled. Indeed, being in a library or bookstore full of books, I feel a bit like the Dr. Seuss book, 'Oh the Places You'll Go'.
We've got two book slots left in our reading calendar. Any suggestions?
Off the top of my head I came up with Elegance of the Hedgehog (deep, abiding love), Orphan Train (took my breath away), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (have but have not read), Me Before You (same).
Thanks again to all of you who left comments awhile back, when I was considering starting this. They were most helpful, and appreciated.