My mom has been in a book club for as long I can remember, I think her book club has actually been together almost 25 years. It hasn’t been the same group of people for the last 25 years, mind you, but that is still pretty damn impressive in my book (no pun intended, ha). I remember seeing books on her night stand that rotated monthly (I also remember not being that interested in those books because they weren’t Harry Potter). Once a month she would meet with her book club members and discuss different books. As a teenager I didn’t really appreciate this because the only books I was really interested in wasHarry Potter and other YA series, and all my friends were reading those books too. That meant that I already had people to discuss them with, but then life gets busy and people’s tastes change and you no longer have a built-in book club.
I’ve always been an avid reader because I adore getting lost in the world of a book. I enjoy spending an afternoon that turns into an evening that turns into the wee hours of the night finishing a book. Reading a book is its own vacation in a sense, I get to take a break from my world and enjoy the more fantastical world of someone else. The problem with my reading style is that if left to my own devices I would read Science Fiction and Fantasy books all the time, and wouldn’t bother with anything else (I like what I like). After graduating college and entering the real world, I realized there might be excellent books from different genres that I was missing out on. Despite this being an absolute fact, I continued to read my SF and Fantasy books as usual. Then I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and everything changed. This book was so amazing that I wanted to talk about it with someone else, but it seemed as if none of my friends had read it. That’s when I decided I needed to join a book club.
I knew I wanted a book club that met in person and that read a variety of books. After looking through meetups and just googling “Book Club Seattle” I wasn’t having much luck finding something that I thought was a good fit for me. So I decided to start my own book club. This proved to be tricky because it turns out people have busy lives and don’t always have time to read. Even at once a month it can be hard to pick a day that everyone can meet (being an adult sucks, am I right?). I finally found 5 other ladies who were interested in being in a book club. I chose our first book Wild by Cheryl Strayed (also a book you should check out) and found a day and time for everyone to meet and thusly the Read or Die Book Club was formed.
I would love to say it was smooth sailing from there, but that would be a lie. The first meeting went great, there was a lot of good discussion. It was so much fun to discuss the differing viewpoints of the book and ask questions about stuff I didn’t understand, and really just to hear other people’s opinions of the book. After that first meeting I was feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of Book Club. The next meeting there was only three of us… Even though only three of us showed up it was still a ton of fun and we had some really insightful discussions. It was still everything I thought book club would be, just smaller. It stayed just the three of us for about a year and a half. We rotated who picks the book every month and then met up, had some awesome food and drinks, and chatted about all sorts of books. Even though it wasn’t exactly how I imagined it would be, it was better because it was real. I get so much personal fulfillment out of book club, and reading the wide of a variety of books we have over the years has allowed me to expand my interests and grow as a person. Right now Book club is back up to 5 people. It’s nice to have more people with differing viewpoints.. Even if you can only find one other person to read books with, I say it’s worth it though.
Another delightful thing that’s happened with our book club is that one of the founding three members started a food blog! This means that she does the cooking and cocktailing for our book clubs, and it’s typically on theme with the books we’ve read. Rachel is so talented and it’s so much fun to have themed meals to enjoy while we talk about our books. You can find all of Rachel’s book club posts and recipes here. I highly recommend you try the German’s Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from the Tin Drum post, they are the most delicious cookies I have ever had. I would never be able to assemble even a quarter of the stuff Rachel provides for our book club on a monthly basis. I think I put out cheese and cracker and store-bought macaroons for our first meeting…lol.
Even if you don’t have a food blogger to provide personal themed dishes, I highly recommend you join or start a book club. It forces you out of your comfort zone with your reading choices and it’s fun to talk about a shared experience with people, even when you disagree! I’ve had so many laughs and good times with our Book Club, and it’s been fun watching our book club grow.
Rachel and I have a joint Pinterest board for all of the books we have already read, I encourage you to check it out. It also has reviews from her blog and will soon have some from here. Some of my favorite books have been The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and Better by Atul Gawande (three books I never would have chosen on my own). Last month we read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and if you would like to follow along we are reading “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami . I will share my post from our next book club, after we discuss.
Are any of you in a bookclub? What’s your favorite book? Let me know in the comments.