I had the rare opportunity this past weekend to jet out of frozen New England and into what felt like heaven on earth. When I landed at Palm Springs International Airport, those first few inhalations of balmy desert air laced with hints of citrus seemed simply divine.
My college friend Michele had invited me, along with our friends Lisa and Zoe, to share a mini-reunion weekend at her mother’s spectacular PS vacation home. Despite living in four far-flung cities and not meeting regularly in decades, the four of us immediately resumed the comfortable dialogue that began when we met 27 years ago as girls. The lively conversations swirled for four days. Even after the painful moment on Sunday when we separated at the airport bound for home, the text messages with inside jokes continued to rage on our cell phones until liftoff and then resumed upon arrival.
When I returned home and my husband asked what we had talked about all weekend, I answered the usual—catching up on our families, careers, daily lives, etc. Collectively, the four of us are moms to 11 children ranging in age from 4 to 15. Each child had merited some airtime during the weekend, as did the fathers.
But I also shared with my husband how we’d devoted a surprisingly large chunk of time to discussing our reading habits and book recommendations. Three of us are in book groups; one is not.
Lounging on the patio in decadent lounge chairs, Lisa had tutored us on the functionality of the Goodreads app. On Sunday night as I waited alone at the gate for my flight to board, Michele had asked the three of us via text from the airport bookstore what she should purchase for the flight home. When she couldn’t find the perfect selection, Zoe texted that she should download something on her iPad.
I guess it shouldn’t be terribly shocking that a group of old friends who also happen to be voracious readers should be spending so much time discussing books during a cherished weekend together. After all, learning and intellectual discussion were woven deeply into the fabric of our enduring friendship when we met all those years ago as undergrads at Northwestern.
Here are five works of fiction that I’ve added to my to-read list after this weekend (in no particular order): Bloodlines by Neville Frankel, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker, The Husband’s Secret by Lian Moriarty, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, and Hush by Eishes Chayil.