Book clubs have been around for many years…so what is a book club?
In most cases a book club is all about ‘the book’ where a group of people read and talk about the content. Each book club has a unique flavour, determined by the members and the books being read. Some clubs have an agreed reading list, topic or genre and members critique the book within regular meetings.
Our book club is a little different, its not all about the ‘books,’ although some of us are avid readers, it’s about the Romance, Lust, Drama, Tragedy, Comedy, Adventure, Crime, Sport and Melodrama genres that have been ‘our lives’ for the past twenty years, which we have shared and supported each other through.
In the beginning ‘J’ and I founded the book club because at the time we loved reading but had little discretionary money to purchase books. Our chosen model was for all members to take turns at holding a monthly meeting at their home. We would all contribute $10 monthly which allowed the host to purchase books of their choosing. The books formed a library, transported via an ever-growing suitcase, and upon expiry from the library the books became the property of the purchaser or we would donate them to the local hospice. This was before e-Readers, Kindles, iPads, tablets and smartphones were the norm for us all (the suitcases were retired long ago).
The host is responsible for the refreshments which always includes a mixture of Red or White with non-alcoholic options for the driver and on special occasions Bubbles. The accompanying cheese boards followed by biscuits, cakes and chocolates with coffee and tea are also at the hosts discretion. There has never been any expectation on the scale or content of the refreshments however over the years the most noticeable change is the huge assortment of tea options that are now available. No longer is it any old tea bag dunked, we may be offered selections of Earl Grey, Lady Grey, flavoured tea including green, ginger or berry and other herbal infusions; the list goes on. I am not surprised that no one has started offering long blacks, flat whites, lattes or mochaccinos as the preparation time would exclude them from the ‘important discussions’.
Our book club is never about the books, the only conversations that we ever have relating to a book was if one of us casually asks in passing ‘has anyone read a good book lately?’; the conversation then quickly moves onto another riveting topic.
Our success is supported by the original selection of our membership, all of whom were chosen in pairs, a close friend along with one of their close friends, to ensure that everyone had a buddy and felt comfortable right from the start. Although we did try introducing guest members a few times over the years, apart from ‘L’, who did successfully infiltrate the group, others did not. Either they did not like our ‘we don’t talk about the books’ model or they just couldn’t keep up, so we gave up trying to expand.
The special thing about our book club are the discussions, from the time we arrive to the time the last of us leaves, the conversations are flowing thick and fast. The laughter (sometimes this includes cackling and the odd snort) and tears flow, no topic is off limits and depending on the number in attendance there maybe multiple conversations occurring at once so keeping your wits about you is essential because the best conversation maybe missed. Our conversations are real and intimate, we do not holdback and we are able to share, get advice or support as needed.
Our friendships were built on this sharing when life was simpler and we talked about being overtired, unloved, without orgasm or which one of us irons underwear; sometimes we even had demonstrations including the contents of a bottom drawer with all sorts of vibrating toys and lingerie or step by step tutorial on the different ways to fold fitted sheets. It has often been said that no one can ever leave the book club because we all know so much about each other.
Over the years this honesty has built a strong sisterhood of friendship which has stood us in good stead for when life’s tough stuff kicked in.
We have been there for the anguish, sharing the grief of a loved ones passing, loss of parents to dementia and frailty, loss of youth (bloody hot flushes), lost relationships, anxiety and mental health and we have been there for the ecstasy of new love, new life, laughter, new adventures and travels, new careers and new shoes!
The best thing about our book club are our members and the love that we have for each other; it has enhanced my life and made it richer that I could have imagined, whilst giving me ‘sisters of life’ for which I am eternally grateful for.
Yes, I have read some good books along the way but I’ve never discussed any of them because I can never remember the bloody title or the authors names.
Start a book club like ours today you won’t regret it.