I love to read, and part of the reason I wanted to be a writer was that from the time I was a small girl I was fascinated by the way authors used words to craft a story. Words beckon and seduce and what amazes and inspires me is the how those same words can be used in so many ways to say so many different things.
I read every day, often for pure recreation, sometimes to learn and satisfy curiosity, and at times to expand the depth and breadth of my reading preferences. I read a lot of mysteries, they’re my favorite genre, and recognize that’s probably why I chose to write them. My non-fiction choices tend to veer toward biographies, history and current socio-political themes. But I’ve always been aware that there are many books I haven’t read and might not on my own, so, that’s why I belong to a book club.
I’d belonged to book clubs before, when we lived in Pennsylvania. Early on, after we relocated to our small village on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, I formed one here that lasted for a couple years. Several of the members were seasonal and lived elsewhere for most months, and some still had active careers. Our busy schedules and commitments began to infringe on our best intentions and eventually we disbanded.
I’d missed being a member of a club when I read an eblast from our local library that a book group, started by one of the women in our community, met monthly there, everyone welcome. I decided to give it a try. It’s probably been five or six years now that I’ve participated and other than unavoidable conflicts, I’ve rarely skipped a meeting.
Our group is well read, but we’re not always attracted to the same types of books, which makes, in my estimation, for spirited and stimulating discussions. Yes, we read best-sellers, but more often we read books that reflect our diverse preferences or are recommended to us by others.
The only rules are that we must have read the book that’s being discussed and that we keep the discussion, as much as possible, to an hour. We take turns leading but put no pressure on those who are uncomfortable doing so.
Some of our group were already my friends, but I’ve also met others who I now count among them. Our level of comfort has grown, and afterward we often repair to a local café to share food and wine and discuss a myriad of stimulating topics.
I am grateful for this group in so many ways. Reading diverse books has helped me hone my own skills as a writer and provokes thought. And the intellectual stimulation, candid conversations and mutual support we give each other undeniably enriches my life in unmeasurable ways
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