Our original group of eight was formed by a few women I barely knew who had a goal of starting a book group focused on a simple premise: actually reading the books. At the time, the “bookgroups” our town was known for were more about socializing and imbibing than reading. This group, however, would allow no fancy food prep, gossip sessions, or hard alcohol—ok, maybe a glass of wine—but, more likely, some cookies and a cup of tea to accompany our literature. Am I making it all sound too nerdy? You’ll just have to believe me when I say these women are accomplished, personable and admirable people. I was proud they invited me to join their ranks.
The past 10 years have been busy for all of us. Between us, we have birthed babies, moved and/or remodeled homes, changed jobs, lost loved ones and earned degrees. We have celebrated birthdays and other major milestones. Some of our members have moved on, and some new folks have joined. For the most part, however, our group has maintained a core of constant and devoted readers who, despite what life has thrown our way, have managed to read and discuss no less than 85 books together.
Most of our book choices have centered on contemporary literary fiction, with an occasional classic or non-fiction work thrown into the mix. Part of the fun of a group is being introduced to unfamiliar titles and authors that become beloved, as well as exploring books that would ordinarily be out of your comfort zone. Five of my personal favorites are Sally Gunning’s The Widow’s War, Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, JR Moehringer’s Sutton, Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women, and Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road.
I can honestly say as I scan our list of 85 books, each one has been made more memorable and meaningful to me as the result of sharing them with this group. Looking forward to another decade of great reading and discussion!