It comes around once a month...like clockwork.
Sometimes, it sneaks up and catches me by surprise. Other times, I'm better at remembering.
This month I HAD to remember.
This month I was hosting book club.
I've belonged to this book club for two years. I'd like to tell you the name of it, exceptn' we don't have one.
We've tried to come up with a clever descriptive name, but we've been so clever and so descriptive that our mile-high pile of good options have disabled us from reaching a consensus. So we remain named the No-NAME book club.
As the host[ess] of the book club last week, I had certain responsibilities: sending email reminders, tidying up the house, leading the discussion, and intervening when two or more people started yelling and throwing their books at one another.
Just kidding. There was no yelling (except when some of us started belting out a Broadway showtune).
There is nothing but love in our book club: love for literature, love for one another, love for snacks, love for spontaneous singing, and love for remaining nameless. Love love all round.
Until last week, that is.........when there was a tiny lack of love.
It all started when I decided to do things a little differently.
Usually we choose a THEME (like Africa or feminism) and we all read whatever book we want under the theme's umbrella. Then everyone takes a turn talking about their book.
Most of our club's lovely ladies like it this way. This exposes us to different books and gives everyone ideas for future reads. But I already have a list of books as long as the Snake River that I want to read. So this makes me feel weighted down and even more jipped to hear about all the good books that I don't have time for. Plus, it feels like I'm sitting in school listening to one student book report after another (albeit awesome book reports).
So for my turn, I bagged the theme thing and asked everyone to read the SAME book. Because for some reason, when I read a good book, I want everyone I know to read it too. It's so fun to share that experience. I love to banter about the plot and muse about the themes. I especially love to hear opposing viewpoints and interpretations different than my own.
And I love to talk about the places and people. It fills my mettling cup. Gotta love harmless and guilt-free gossip!
The book I chose was Possession by A.S. Byatt.
It is a cerebral book and required effort. But for me, it was so rewarding. In fact, the more I ponder about the book (and talk about it with my sister-in-law), the more I love it. The concept is like the movie National Treasure, only the treasure was Victorian love letters instead of historical American documents. Byatt did an excellent job weaving two parallel plots in two different time periods. It is a remarkable achievement with incredibly beautiful language. It was so delicious.... like eating a perfectly ripe peach that explodes in your mouth with savor.
But most of my book club didn't think so. Alas, the love was lacking. Several started the book but couldn't make it past Chapter 3....
"too much work"
"not enough action"
Only three of us finished the book and liked it. So, during book club, we talked about Possession a little bit (thanks Kay and Jenny), then others joined in as we broke into our usual rhythm of discussing life and events and other books on our nightstands. We laughed and sang and slurped down pasta salad and blackberry cobbler.
At the end of the night, I thought...it's okay that we give book reports. It's okay that we don't have a name. It's okay that not everyone liked my book choice.
It's okay because after everyone drove away, I felt so grateful to rub shoulders with these bright, articulate, fun women.
And I hope they are okay with that too!
Keep reading and celebrating the beauty of differences!
Reed Moore (aka Ms Fish)