I scurry around lining up extra chairs in my living room to provide additional seating, running the lint roller over the upholstered furniture to remove the cat hair and checking the bathroom to make sure all seems tidy there. It’s my turn to host book club and promptly at 7:00 pm the ladies will begin to arrive.
There are eleven of us in the group, all female. We have been getting together about once every 4-6 weeks since 1999; and, though a few members have dropped out over time, the make-up of this current group has remained the same for the last several years.
We’re a diverse group, ranging in age from late 30s to late 60s. We take turns hosting. We always have –
Wine, M&Ms, and Red Licorice
- a tradition since the first meeting or so; and then, whatever else the hostess wants to serve to keep us nibbling all evening.
Now, it’s unusual for us to spend more than about 5 minutes actually discussing the book we were to have read. In many cases, not everyone has even finished reading the book (some haven’t even started it!).
I would submit that though we started out many years ago with the idea of really discussing and analyzing good reads, we have evolved into a “friendship” club. In this day and age of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, it is sometimes tempting to just use a laptop, smart phone or tablet to stay connected with friends. Our so-called book club serves as a constant incentive to ensure us face-to-face time with our peeps. In my opinion, this results in much more satisfying relationships.
(Actually, I think we all take comfort in the fact that our loose structure causes no one undue angst about getting a book read before the next meeting – no pressure.)
So, though our love of reading is what brought us together, our varied interests and ages are what fuels the great conversations we have. Sometimes the entire group will engage in talking about a topic – anything from current events/politics to pop culture to do-it-yourself home projects to family gossip.
Sometimes small groups within the large one will go off on a tangent of their own. It’s not unusual for several conversations to happen at once. (This can make for a very noisy room.) Then, the only problem is – which conversation should I join in? I want to hear what’s being discussed in each one!
We’ve done some field trips over the years. One time we stayed in a hotel in downtown Minneapolis and watched movies all night while gorging ourselves on the pot luck snacks we brought with us. A couple of times we have gone to movies that were based on books we have read (or not). On one of these occasions our hostess for the evening smuggled several varieties of movie candy into the theater (think Dots, Milk Duds, Sweet Tarts and the like)and we passed the packages back and for the across the row all evening. It reminded me of going to the movies as a kid (only maybe then, we weren’t so good at sharing our treats).
Notice how sweets are always part of our activities!
We’ve experienced lots of life happenings in all our years together – births, weddings, broken engagements, on-line dating (some great stories shared with this one), cancer, job changes, house moves, house fires, retirements. I think, in some small measure, sharing discussion about these events has eased the stress (whether caused by joy or sorrow) of the persons experiencing the issues. If nothing else, we can count on several supportive friends really listening and caring about our situations.
I feel very fortunate to be part of this group. I am in awe of these smart, talented ladies I call friends, and look forward to our lively discussions each month.
The evening ends with the announcement of the next book title. We are all eager to see what the hostess has chosen, as she gets to make the selection.
At this point, we are optimistic, with good intentions, of getting the book read!
But, really, whether we read the book or not, we look forward to getting together again next month.
I hope you all have the opportunity to get together with friends. Don’t be afraid to find a group or start a group – use the guise of a book club! I think you will find it very rewarding.
How do you make room for face-to-face time with your friends? Do you have a social group or groups you belong to? I’d love to hear about them.
Please leave your comments below.