By Lonnie Cruse
A few months back I accepted an invitation to join a local book club that meets once a month in various members' homes. I knew a couple of the members, the rest are new to me, so I'm still learning names. I didn't have enough time to read the book for the first month so I simply showed up, met the members, listened to the discussion, and ate dessert. Well worth the trip.
The next month we read I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Norah Ephron. The group thought a lighter read was needed and I confess, I laughed my way through the book. Well, except for the chapter about Ephron losing her best friend to cancer. That one made me cry. Since the group is around Ephron's age, the book resonated with each member.
The following month we read THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortenson. It's the story of Mortenson, a mountain climber who was rescued by the inhabitants of a remote village. He promised to pay them back by building a school for the children who daily sat on the ground and did their lessons . . . without a regular teacher. As he said in the book, can you imagine young children in America sitting quitely and doing lessons for a long period of time with no adult in attendance? Mortenson has devoted a great deal of his life to building schools in Pakistan and other areas. Seeing to it that children in other countries have a chance to learn. Interesting book, but I must confess, not one of my favorites.
For October we're reading THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards. I'm only about 80 pages in. I'm enjoying it, but it is a deep book. Gotta admit I can't wait to see what happens next.
The scheduled November read is THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Dianne Setterfield. That's a book I've been wanting to read, but with such a heavy, near-to-toppling-over TBR (to be read) pile of books in my bedroom, who knows when I've have gotten around to it.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I tend to be fairly narrow in my choices of what to read. So many books/so little time syndrome I suppose. So I stick pretty much with what I like, and if, heaven forbid, I happen onto a book I don't like, I bail after a few chapters, skipping to the end because I DO have to know Who Dun It. Joining this book club is exposing me to a lot of books I probably never would have chosen for myself. Some I'll like. Some I won't. But I'll finish them so I can carry on an intelligent discussion with the group. And participate in the dessert and coffee after.
Book clubs are great because you can share your opinion and get feedback from the other readers. And you get cake. Or pie. If you don't already belong to or know of a local book club, why not consider forming your own group? It will open up new reads for you. Expand your reading horizons. Not to mention your hips.
Now all I have to do is figure out which book I want to suggest for the monthly read when it's my turn. Something light and funny like a Donna Andrews mystery? I just finished OWL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL and loved it. Or should I suggest something deep like WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson? Sigh. So many books, so little time.