Book Club

The past few days have been very busy. Part of the reason for that is because I hosted my book club yesterday afternoon and attended by son’s book club on Friday night.

My book club consists mostly of women that I met over ten years ago during graduate school at the University of Maryland when we were all in the Library Science program. Currently there are nine regular members in the group and all but one of us attended grad school at UMCP. Since the book club began, members have come and gone as circumstances and lives have changed. We have one former member who has moved to Alaska and she often reads the same book and even gives us book suggestions. She has yet to be able to Skype in for a meeting but would like to some day. I was not one of the original members and after the birth of my second child my attendance to book club was sporadic. After the third child, I decided I needed this group more than ever, so until he could crawl, Henry attended book club with me regularly. One of his earliest foods was a delicious Moroccan chicken that my friend’s husband made for book club. I now make that dish regularly at home and we all love it. When he was big enough, Henry stayed home for boys’ nights too. When it’s my turn to host, their boys’ nights go outside the house.

The ages of our members ranges from 30 something to 60 something. There are married women with young children and adult children, divorced women with young children and adult children and grandmothers. It is a wonderful dynamic and I look forward each month to meeting with this great group. I don’t care too much what book we are reading but I love getting together and discussing our families and our lives. These friends have watched my boys grow from babies to little boys to bigger boys. I have watched and marked their milestones with them as well.

Each time we meet we eat delicious food and drink wine and talk a little bit about the book and a lot about our lives. Our book club is not overly structured and sometimes the book barley gets discussed. Other times we get into animated discussions. Finishing each book is optional although with a group full of librarians the choices are amazing, so we usually do finish unless life gets in the way. At the end of the meeting, we consult our calendars and throw out suggestions for the next book. Both the date and the book are chosen by consensus. We don’t keep a formal record of who hosted last, but we all know generally and offer to host when the time works for us and when we believe it is our turn. The book club spans three states, not counting Alaska so we carpool when we have longer drives. We go to Delaware and Virginia once or twice a year and the rest of the time we stay in Maryland.

My son’s book club is run very similarly as mine, but is much more local. It was started last year when he was in second grade and was just becoming a strong reader. The women who put the group together had an older daughter who had been in a book club since she was in 2nd grade as well. We started out with six second grade boys and when the founder moved out of state, we decided to keep the group at five. Each boy has at least one friend they would like to include but with five boys, five mothers and five regular siblings, any extra would be a bit much. The boy who moved to Washington state had Skyped in and often reads the same book.

The boys choose their books a little differently because we do try to keep track of whose turn it is to host and when it is their turn, they get to choose the book. We still gather, eat delicious food, drink some wine, juice or soda and spend some time discussing the book. Usually the host and his mother come up with questions or a project because eight and nine year old boys need a little more structure for book discussions than adult women.

In both cases, my son and I have learned to appreciate books that we might not have otherwise picked up. We read classics, typical book club books, popular fiction and nonfiction and in the boys’ case they have even read a comic or two and one dual language book since they are all speak and read Spanish.

If you like to read, I highly recommend a book club. It is social and stretches your mind at the same time. Some of my favorite books have been ones that I never wanted to read, but did just because of book club. In a future posting, I will try to list books that both clubs have read.

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