I recently wrote about the difficulty of making friends as an adult. One of the most poignant remarks to me was that of the woman who said she has friends who fill different niches in her social calendar. Well, I recently decided, with the prodding of some friends, to start a book club, a la Gretchen Rubin! While I don’t miss school, whenever I start talking books with someone I realize that I DO miss the camaraderie of the shared reading experience and the meeting of minds that can occur when you talk about a story you’ve both consumed.
I was thoughtful about selecting who to invite. I purposefully picked people that I didn’t know all that well, but in whom I had sensed some kindred spirit. I invited the friend with whom I originally came up with the idea (of course), and she invited a co-worker, who invited her sister! I messaged 3 acquaintances from church, and one gleefully responded that she had been looking for a book club but hadn’t found the right one to join. And I sent an email to the wives/girlfriends/fiancees of Andy’s coworkers, and two decided to join. So a motely crew of seven ladies who love to read emerged!
I Googled a few things like, “how to start a book club” and browsed the lists of suggestions. It took us quite a while to find a date to gather for our first meeting, and I wanted to be prepared! A secondary inspiration to the love of books that led me to start the club is my love of entertaining and feeding people, so the answer to the age-old group gathering questions of “Will there be food?” was for me a resounding, “Yes!” I want the group to have a casual, girls’-night out kind of feel when we meet each month, and food and wine are musts for that in my book (no pun intended).
Only three ended up able to come on Thursday, but we were armed with lists of book suggestions. Since it was a small group, we took a somewhat informal approach. We each read our lists, and a few of us vetoed books we had either already read or just immediately thought would not be a good fit for our group. I expected to do some blind voting on selections, but it ended up not being difficult to pick three books to get us going. Most of our books fell into the categories of historical fiction, current fiction, and “pop” nonfiction. I felt encouraged that I had created a meeting of like minds by the fact that not one but TWO books showed up on multiple lists.
The three of us enjoyed a lovely dinner and downed an entire bottle of wine. As we discussed our book suggestions, the conversation ranged from job satisfaction to marriage to other books to travel….there was no awkward introductory time even though we were veritable strangers. When they left I was overcome with a sense of gratitude for these women coming into my life and feeling SO excited for our group to continue meeting and sharing meals, books, and our lives.
In case you’re interested in reading along, our first three books are:
- Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel (January)
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (February)
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (March)
We’ll be meeting on the third Thursday of the month (consistency seems like it will set us up for success), and whoever’s book selection we are reading will serve as the moderator. The selector is also willing to host if it makes her happy, or else I will continue to. We knew the holidays would get crazy, so we decided to skip December (especially since we only met in late November and our first book is quite long!). But I’m looking forward to having a communal book to read throughout the holidays, anticipating the sweet gathering that will take place at the end.
If you’re interested in starting a book club of your own, here are some of the Internet resources I perused as I was planning our first get-together:
- Oprah's Book Club Guide
- Real Simple's Book Club Checklist
- LitLovers.com How to Start a Book Club
- Book Club Recipes