Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Book Mavens

A recent article in the New York Times about book clubs caused me to reflect on my own book club experience, which, as it turns out, is one of the things I miss most about Oregon. Although the members of the book club are now living in various locales across the US I would love to get back together with this amazing group of women to share thoughts on literature.

Book Mavens was an eclectic group, but we seemed to mesh well and we all brought a love of reading and spirited debate to the meetings. One of the best things about the group was how we chose our books: at the beginning of the year we would set aside one meeting and all bring a list of books that we were interested in reading, then we would select our books for the entire year. We generally tried to get at least one biography or non-fiction piece, a classic or two, award winners and best sellers. One year we even decided to do one poem per meeting (this didn't work out particularly well, but it was fun).

We read great books and struggled through not so great books. We had an unspoken rule that we could discuss life, work, relationships for the first half hour while we shared terrific dessert, but after that it was all book talk. We met at each others' homes to and the hostess always provided something amazing in a welcoming living room, a breezy deck in the early fall, or even a very cool teepee in the heat of summer.

We met once a month for 11 months out of the year. We always took December off and then regrouped in January to reconnect and choose our reading. Although we had all been friends before forming the group, this connection added a new and amazing dimension to our relationships. New friendships were formed as members came into the group, relationships deepened as ideas, hopes, and fears were revealed through our reading.

And so to Catherine, Mindi, Sherri, Dara, Stacy H., Bridget, Stacy B., and Chris -- you will always be the penultimate book group, true Book Mavens.

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