When I was first invited to join my book club, I hesitated in saying yes. I adore the friend who invited me—she’s a librarian and has impeccable taste in books. We had several mutual friends who were also members, so I knew I’d have a good time, but I was thinking about my long to-be-read list, which includes a tower of books precariously balanced on my nightstand and quite a few novels on my bookshelf. Did I really want to commit to reading a prescribed book each month when I had so many other books I wanted to read? What if I didn’t like the selections?
In spite of my initial misgivings, I’m glad I joined. We’re a casual, low-pressure group. Nobody gets flogged if they don’t finish the book. We’re also democratic—we take turns picking books and hosting. And, we love food. Everyone brings a dish when we meet. Sometimes, if a book is food-oriented, someone will make an entrée or desert inspired by what we read. There’s no pressure over food though, which is nice. Some of us love to cook. Others (like me) prefer eating over cooking, so hanging out with talented cooks is a definite perk. Sure, sometimes I like to bake, but my good friend Costco makes a great apple pie, so why go to the trouble?
Besides sampling new recipes, we’ve gotten to read books we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves, or that we’ve always wanted to read but haven’t. We’ve been diverse as far as genre: historical fiction, humor, mystery, romance, memoir, fantasy, science fiction, and most recently, non-fiction. We just finished reading Wealth Woman, by Deb Vanasse, which is about a Native woman who was a prominent figure in the Klondike gold rush. I loved the book because it offered an alternative historical perspective. Since the author is local, we invited her to join us for our meeting. It was great to hear more about the book and her writing process.
This is the second time we’ve had an author join us. The first time we hosted an author, we met with Holly Lorincz, author of Smart Mouth. This award-winning book is about a young woman’s first year as a teacher and debate coach at a small coastal high school. We had such a great time with Holly, we decided to name our group after the book. It seemed fitting, given that we all have an appreciation for humor and speak sarcasm fluently.
The socialization has been beneficial too. As a writer and an introvert, I spend a lot of time in my own head. Sometimes I get so immersed in writing, I forget to open the shades—I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I’m a vampire. Getting out of the house is a good thing for me, especially among people who love books as much as I do.
© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016