At our last book club, I looked across the table and smiled. Each one of these lovely women brings something unique to our group, and I marvel at our differences and similarities and how we’ve blended over the years to become this reassuring place where our secrets are safe, and our spirits are lifted. Seasoned friendships help us through middle age and beyond, and it’s never too late to open your heart and let a few marvelous women in.
Our book club formed in 2004 when our children were in middle school and we needed a diversion from their lives. What we didn’t understand then was that this diversion would help us through some very difficult times to come. When some of our lives would fall apart, we found a drink and a hug at book club. Not all our members share their private thoughts or feelings, and there’s no requirement that they do, but there’s a comfort level knowing that you’re not the only one going through a rough patch. There’s a collective deep breath, a unity that develops along the way.
Unlike other types of clubs, book club is about reading and talking. Members are not practicing an instrument or hitting a ball. They are communicating and through that – bonding. All sorts of topics go flying around the table when discussing a book. At times the book falls into the background and we talk about our lives. Then there are those times when a book really enthralls us, it hits the nerve and we soar together in its flight.
Our book club, Between Friends, even began a website in 2008 to try to capture the essence of our group and to share book reviews with our members and beyond betweenfriendsbookclub.com/. Reading has opened up our worlds and broadened our horizons. We’ve read outside our favorite genres exploring new categories and themes we may never have chosen. We’ve become more tolerant through our reading and gained empathy along the way.
Don’t be discouraged if you join a book club but it doesn’t feel like a fit. Keep looking. There are all types of book clubs from hyper-serious with questions to answer about the book before the discussion to idle-light more interested in the food and wine. Find the one that feels right for you. You can search online at Book Club Meetups, Reader’s Circle.org, My Bookclub.com as well as your local library. Or, start your own book club and invite some friends or neighbors.
In our stressed-out lives, there is no better medicine then laughing and our book club does a lot of it. It’s the best therapy session ever. We bond over books and bottles of wine, talking, roaring, swatting away the worries of the week for a few marvelous hours.
So, go enrich your life – join a book club or start your own, and find your place of comfort.