For several months now, I’ve been attending monthly book club gatherings at our local library. Meeting with a dozen women—avid readers appreciative of good literature—is not only fun for me, but a nourishment for my intellect and soul as well. One may argue that we as readers acquire enough of such nourishment from a fine book itself, so why want it from elsewhere?
Well, sometimes it’s true, since I read more books than I have time to discuss them with someone else. But I still enjoy talking about novels and authors because, apart from the aforementioned reason, I like sharing my opinions with other readers too.
Basically, we think of a story as good only if it stirs up our strong feelings, and if we can relate to the characters and their experiences in it—in some way. Maybe the dilemmas that those characters try to solve feel too close to home for us, or the events described in a story evoke our memories, making us laugh or cry, or warn us against rash and unwise decisions.
In either way, that’s what book club members usually talk about, comparing the novel’s characters’ experiences with the similar ones of their own. Which is the most fascinating, and thus valuable, aspect of such gatherings. When someone becomes too emotional, we comfort her by “It’s okay, it’s just the fruit of the author’s imagination, it’s only a book…” But we know that it’s not “only a book”! It’s so damn well written that it feels real to us, and yes, things like that do happen in real life. Hence, our heartfelt response.
I usually go to these get-togethers with my neighbors, Catherine and Cindi. But when one of us misses it, we catch up later, at home.
Last night, I was hosting our little book club in my backyard—with snacks, wine, and fruit. We started to discuss Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, then switched to novels by Jodi Picoult, John Grisham, Elizabeth George, Louise Erdrich, and others. And yes of course, we chatted about our personal incidents, similar to the ones in those stories, or just for the hell of it. 🙂
Three hours went by as quick as a wink, the candle lights on our table, flickering softly in the darkness, the only reminder of the late hour.
It was a lovely discussion and I’m looking forward to another one. 🙂