“I’m joining a book club!”, I announced to my husband one evening last winter.
He turned his head sideways and tried not to smirk. “Really? You?”
Earlier that day I had gotten an email from an acquaintance inviting me to be a part of a book club she was starting. Even though I barely knew this person, she and I had mutual friends so she assumed I might want to be involved in this monthly meet-up. I had stared at the computer for a few minutes, blinking, not sure how to respond.
To be honest, my husband’s reaction was understandable. I have never in my life had much interest in book clubs. I like reading but never seem to have enough time to do it and I like socializing once I start, but given the choice I’d usually just opt to stay home in my pajamas. Plus I’d heard of book clubs happening over dinner made by that month’s host and that was enough to turn me off: I don’t enjoy cooking, so feeding my family every night is challenge enough for me.
But as I sat re-reading her email, I was forced to reconsider my position. It was only one night a month, after all, and she hadn’t said a word about cooking dinner. We were still fairly new in town and I really needed to make some more friends. I didn’t have much of a social life. Plus it would get me out of the drudgery of my kids’ nightly bedtime routine at least once a month. The more I mulled it over, the more appealing it became.
As it turns out, I was wrong in assuming I wouldn’t enjoy a book club. It’s actually been awesome. Once a month I meet up with 6 other women over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with not a casserole dish in sight (though sometimes someone brings dessert). We often chat about life for well over an hour before discussing that month’s book at all.
Through the accountability of the book club I’ve come to realize that I actually have a lot more time to read than I thought, and all I need to finish a good book is for someone to give me a deadline! And one thing that I have really appreciated about the experience is the variety of books I’ve been exposed to. Since a different group member picks the next book each month, we all end up reading ones that we ourselves probably wouldn’t have picked. We’ve read everything from New York Times bestselling light and fluffy novels, to Pulitzer Prize winning fiction, to spiritual nonfiction. I like being challenged to get outside my own comfort zone, and I can almost always find our book at the public library so cost is not a factor!
What’s fun about being in a book club is that not only do you get to hang out with your friends, but you get to talk with them about things that probably wouldn’t normally come up in routine conversation. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about your friends and to be challenged to think about your own opinions on interesting topics too. We can’t stay in school forever (and if you’re like me, you’re saying “thank goodness”), but we can continue to learn and grow and expand our worldviews, and being in a book club is a simple and fun way to do it.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Spirit-Fire