Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Clubbin'

I've always thought a book club sounded cool.  But, when I started to look into it, or when I was invited to join one (as happens when you work in the library), it was never a group (or list of books) that really seemed to grab me.  I guess I was afraid of being forced to read books I wasn't interested in and have discussions with people who lead drastically different, more consumer soccer-mom  lives that I do.  I should insert here that my sociologist sister, Lisa, thinks I am lame for not joining "ol' lady book clubs" as I was calling them and the like, just for the experience and exposure to different groups of people.  Perhaps she is right, but none the less I couldn't bring myself to join the Catholic seniors book club, no matter how often they asked.  I am sure they have a blast together and I mean no offense, but I wanted a book club of my peers. 

So through a random bit of chance and a facebook thread (where two of my friends were discussing a book one had loaned the other) I started a book club of my own with a small group of girlfriends.  We had our first discussion last night over snacks and wine (and hard cider!).  We read and discussed Lois Lowry's The Giver.  Everyone really enjoyed the book and the book club experience, too.  We'll be doing it again.

Woohoo.  I am so happy.

And I surprised myself today by finding that I've been pondering if the best of both worlds would be involvement in two clubs, one of my peers and one of the older ladies that tend to populated most of our local book clubs.  A full spectrum of reading and discussion where both the people and the books open me to new, strange ideas....not that my girlfriends don't do that, too.  I like to hear the stories from the older generation, maybe I'd like their books more than I initially thought.

We'll just see....


  1. GO FOR IT! You never know... you may find the old birds might have a few tricks up their sleeves. HAPPY READING!

  2. There is a book club here that is not tempting at all. As an English major I have different perspectives on literature than most. "oooh, that was such a happy ending." "Why did she have to say that?" Of course, no one wants a literary thought to enter the conversation, even after a question. I am accustomed to researching the author, the reason the book was written, the motivations for the characters and reading with feminist, religious, Marxist, or whatever deconstructions...Include plot, scene, symbols, character, setting.

    Now, I don't have to have all that, but once I am cut off and told by the hs educated leader that we are not interested in that "stuff," I am out of there forever.

    When I took two grad level lit courses to keep my teacher certification, I was bored to tears by the other teachers and the constant babble about pregnancy of one, maybe a baseball career, what a kid said in class...totally useless shit for about two hours of the three hour class. I learned less about the lit I read for the class than any in my life. Actually, I learned lots but was not allowed to talk about it.

    I was bored, the prof knew it, and he just like the rambling away from the text. Nothing in their conversations had anything to do with our readings.

    When a woman in a book committed suicide after her husband was disabled and she came into her own after "just" being a mother and dependent for so many years, I tried to comment on her changed mental state, one where she could never return to complete submission. The prof cut me off and said this has nothing to do with feminism. I did not open my mouth for the rest of the semester unless he started looking at me. I got an A, but that was not the point. If he had given me less, he would have had problems.

    Yes, I am one of the "old" people you would not want to read with. No one else would either unless they wanted to fully discuss the book.

    Besides, anytime there is an event or gathering in this town, there are a couple of lonely and crazy men who join in and only hit on women.

    They only way I would read young adult fiction is to keep abreast of what is being read in students in my area of concentration. Some day, I will force myself to read The Giver.

    I am not boring. When I did my student teaching, I taught an AP. Advanced Placement class whose members were very much interested. Not all those kids like literature at all, more into science, computers, history. Up front, some of the boys told me they hated reading literature and would never take more in college than required. Then, during and afte the semester, they said that I was the most interesting literature teacher they had ever had in high school. When teen compliments, you know it is high praise.

    Because these young women are your peers, you will probably have a blast. For my part all I require is serious study or effort. But, very few people are as interested in close reading as I am.

    I was in school with people half my age and they seemed not to mind my age. We had great discussions and my age did not count against me. Of course, we did not socialize after class, except in the student lounge over food.

    1. Well, I think you'd have been disappointed with our book club. But, not because you're too old for us, but because you're too scholarly.

      I personally have always loved literature classes and discussing deeper meanings and allegories and symbolism. I took many in college and always enjoyed and excelled at it. However, this group is a bit less...intense...shall we say.

      We did have a rousing discussion though on societal and moral implication and parallels between our own culture and the futuristic culture presented in the novel. It was super interesting just to be discussing literature in any capacity. It'd been a while for me.

  3. I just broke up with my book club and you make me want to join one again! Mine was mixed ages and genders, and there were just a few too many books that I didn't want to read. I like the idea of expanding my horizons, but it was too joyless in this case, so I stopped. Maybe I'll take a page from your book (ha!) and start my own with some gal pals.

    1. That was what I always feared. That was what kept me from joining a preexisting club.
      I certainly like the little old Scottish lady that invites me to her book club, but I just don't think we share a common opinion on what makes a good book. I know this because I see what she checks out! And while I am glad she enjoys reading these books I just am not interested.

      I don't want joyless reading. There are too many wonderful books to read to put yourself through that.

      If you can, do start your own club. It was fun and a way to make sure my girlfriends and I make time regularly to see each other in the midst of our busy lives.

      We opened it up as a co-ed book club, but in the end only the ladies were interested, I guess.

  4. oooh the Giver! I haven't read that forever! I bet Mrs. Braun's 8th grade English class. I wonder if I would get more out of it now.

    A few of the girls I work with have a book club that has gradually turned into a wine/gossip club. while that would be fun, i would like to read the occasional book. :)

    1. I believe it was richer and more fraught with moral perplexities as an adult. I don't remember which teacher made me read it. It could have been Mrs. Braun though.

      I'm sure the ladies wouldn't mind if you wanted to join us. Make new friends, read books, eat, and be merry. I will run it by them if you'd like to join in.

  5. Interesting! I had the same thoughts about book clubs even though I would probably qualify as "an ol' lady". I started reading books with a couple of my lady friends! Our first choice was Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier. I'm always open to a good book not recommended by soccer moms too! (50 shades.....gag)

    Enjoy and please share some book choices!

    1. One of my students is reading that 50 Shades book right now. From what I've heard of it I am shocked she can read it in such a public place.

      Good for you on reading with your friends. Reading is great, but sharing it is even greater I think.

      I will certainly post the future book club choices.

  6. For the record: I love old ladies in general. They know all sorts of cool tricks and tips about leading a useful and productive life. They are tough cookies, too! And if all of you self-proclaimed old ladies lived nearer me I would suggest we have a book club, but alas, the old ladies that I know just don't seem to click with me the way you do!

    1. What a nice thing to say! Thank you!

      I always liked old ladies too.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!