The Best of Book Clubs

to be read pileEver since I can remember, reading books has been as essential as breathing. I am rarely without a book or a magazine in my hand. At the hairdresser, I’ll listen to an audiobook while waiting the 25 minutes at the color station. I’ve also been known to read while standing in a checkout line at the grocery store, completely unaware that the line has moved forward because I am so engrossed in a story.

Those who aren’t big readers can’t seem to relate to this. Reading feels chore to them instead of a constant source of entertainment. Or maybe they were forced to read one awful book in high school and decided that the written word wasn’t for them. I don’t fault them for this. I only hope they will someday discover the joy and inspiration found between the pages of a book.

In my case, the only thing better than reading a book is talking about it. I love in-depth discussions about overall themes, characters, and plots. I want to marvel over the author’s writing style, talk through the twists and turns, and celebrate (or critique) how it all ends.

This is why my neighborhood book club has been one of the highlights of my suburban life. Every month or so, we choose a book to read and discuss. We had been meeting for many years in person before the pandemic hit. To keep our momentum (and sanity) in check, we met over Zoom. While it wasn’t the same as sitting in someone’s living room, it provided that much-needed connection we were all missing.

At times, we don’t always talk about the book. We love to drink wine and catch each other up on what is happening in our lives. We are also an incredibly resourceful bunch. If someone wants to redesign their kitchen, we recommend contractors, appliance and tile stores, and the best place to find high-quality light fixtures. When we were all planning b’nai mitzvahs for our kids, we traded the names of DJs and caterers.

There was a time when I said I wanted to talk more about the books we read when we met. At one particular meeting, we tried to lay down some ground rules. For instance, if you read the book, come at 7 pm to discuss it. Come over at 8 for cookies, cocktails, and chit-chat if you didn’t.

This turned out to be a lonely time for me. 😉

Soon enough, I weighed my need for intellectual conversation and my even stronger desire for a close-knit friend group. Of course, the friends won out. To this day, I consider these people some of my dearest friends. And besides, good books are much easier to find than good friends.

These days, our book club is the perfect mix of literary discussion and Mom’s Night Out. And, I love every minute of it. Whether we talk about what we loved or hated about the book or indulge in some neighborhood gossip, we all love a good story.

9 comments on The Best of Book Clubs

  1. Glenda Cates
    January 15, 2022 at 2:40 pm (1 year ago)

    I love to read which I inherited from my dad. I never leave home without at least one book which my husband and son don’t understand. Nor do they understand why I stalk my Authors pages for information on new books coming out. I just wish I had a group of friends like yours to discuss books with but since I don’t, I will just read and discuss the books with myself, and my son and husband even though it drives them crazy.

  2. Laura Orsini
    January 13, 2022 at 12:07 am (1 year ago)

    I’ve been a lifelong reader – though not as much now as previously. I’ve only belonged to two book clubs. I’ve seen the glamorized version in the movies and know people who adore their clubs. I just think I haven’t found the right one yet. But I love this post because your passion comes through so strongly. Thanks for sharing, Elisa!

    • Elisa
      January 13, 2022 at 7:32 pm (1 year ago)

      Keep trying to find a book club, Laura! It helps both my reading and social life. 🙂

  3. Roy A Ackerman, PhD EA
    January 12, 2022 at 5:44 pm (1 year ago)

    I found that book clubs were more of an opportunity to enjoy some great snacks and even great wine…So, I stopped attending. Instead, I seek out settings where the author is willing to discuss his tome.

  4. Hanna Long
    January 12, 2022 at 3:11 pm (1 year ago)

    I love reading books! I wish there was book club near me ..

  5. Martha
    January 12, 2022 at 12:19 pm (1 year ago)

    I use to read a lot but then computer came along. LOL But lately I’ve returned to “old fashioned” book reading. I’m not beeing ebooks because it’s still using the computer and I like to hold a book and read at night. Also reading to Lia is fun especially now that she recognizes some words. As for talking about books, I was telling my neighbor about a book I just finished reading and she was so excited to hear about so I gave her the book to read!

  6. Dominique
    January 12, 2022 at 12:18 pm (1 year ago)

    I love to read like this as well — except I would be reading the book at the salon. I am not a huge fan of audiobooks. My parents used to clear the table every morning because I would read all of the ingredients and text on cereal boxes, milk cartons, anything!

    I was in a book club at one of my jobs. I just find that I may not want to read the books that others want to read. Maybe one day I will join a club and stick with it…

    • Elisa
      January 13, 2022 at 7:33 pm (1 year ago)

      Love it! My mom loves to tell the story that when I was little I read all the street signs. People looked at me like I was a little genius. 🙂

  7. Jeanine Byers
    January 12, 2022 at 11:51 am (1 year ago)

    This post was a lovely read! And speaking of reading and love, I am right there with you. I love to read. I remember when I still use to read paperbacks, I had a cover for them and would take my current book everywhere in my purse. I rarely think to do that anymore unless I know in advance that I’ll be waiting quite a while. A neighborhood book club would be great. I just imagined it, actually, and I hope something like that will become a possibility in my life. Thanks for the reminder of how fun it is to talk about books.

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