Since I began my book club adventure with an appeal to readers of this blog to tell me of their book club experiences, I thought it would be only fair to report in, now that I seem to be launched into this. As I previously reported, the book chosen for our first read was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, something I would never in a month of Sundays have picked up to read of my own choice. However, almost against my will, I madly loved it. It's not great literature, but it's a damn good read, a book that crawled right up into my heart, made me laugh out loud as well as tear up a time or two, and feel sad and reluctant when I had to turn the last page. The characters in this epistolary novel were so beautifully delineated through their letters and notes that they were alive and breathing, real and very quirky human beings.
So, last night the neighborhood women in this book club gathered in Carla's cozy living room to discuss The Guernsey Literary Society, with Paula leading the discussion. I already knew from our emails that several of the other women loved the book as much as I did (and I knew that Gail did because we read in the same house and have our own discussions right here) but in fact every one of us felt the same way. The discussion was lively, intelligent, heartfelt, with only a few digressions (and I for one often find digressions quite interesting). For me one of the best parts of the evening was discovering how interesting and simpática these neighborhood women are. I knew one of them fairly well, from political co-conspiring during the 2008 elections, but the rest have up till now been people I wave and smile at when we cross paths walking dogs, having yard sales, riding bikes, and so forth. After just two meetings with the purpose of reading together, I feel that we can actually become more than acquaintances, may ultimately become friends.
The most difficult part of last night was figuring out the choice of a new book for next month. It's next to impossible to find a book no one has yet read, and one that we're all interested in reading. Finally we settled on The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, which Gail and I have actually read. It was Nancy's strong choice, and she was willing to lead the discussion; so it was late, we were tired, and all said yes to it. I will have to browse this book again to refresh my memory. It's quite a compelling novel, especially for someone who lived through pre-Civil Rights days in the South: Texas, North Carolina and Washington D.C. in my case. It's garnered some controversy, but is still one of the most popular reads in the country after several months as a bestseller. Our own Women On writer Cynthia of the blog Sorting The Pieces read and reviewed it earlier this year, her post will give readers a good idea of the power of this book.