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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Big Fat Geek Book Club

I belong to a fantabulous book club. We've been together for almost five years. Our group consists of seven regulars and one honorary member. We're all women. Various backgrounds. Assorted experiences. For most of us, we have faced or are in the midst of challenging circumstances but we are brimming over with a big, fat enthusiasm for life, adventurous books, and fun-loving comraderie. We are spirited, sassy, spontaneous and often downright silly.

Members each take turns hosting our monthly book "gathering" at their home. We all live fairly close to each other so it's easy to get together. We meet at 10:00 in the morning. Unlike many book clubs, our members actually discuss the book at length...for nearly two hours. We all figure that we've taken time to read the book, so why not talk about it and listen to differing perspectives. Some of our best conversations occur when members relate events in the book to our own personal experiences.  The host prepares questions, leads the discussion and keeps the group focused so we don't stray too far off topic. Our group is structured but by no means rigid. We have the most amazing discourses with insightful, thought-provoking and often hilarious give-and-take. We agree to disagree in a congenial manner and we've  learned so much about each other.  Although we were strangers in the beginning, we've now bonded as dear friends.

Our book selections are varied. We don't always choose best sellers. Sometimes we'll pick a geeky classic. Next month, we're reading the Screwtape Letters. I readily admit it was not my choice. But I think it will be an intriguing discussion. We don't always like the book but we do agree to read it and frequently the books we hate offer the most over-the-top discussions.

Our book club has two components. First the book discussion. Then the FOOD. In addition to leading the discussion, the host prepares a lunch for all of us. In the beginning, we decided the "eats" would be a very casual, nothing fancy, non-gourmet, no-pressure type of meal. A simple salad, soup or casserole would suit us just fine. That was in the beginning. Since then, many of our members have taken exquisite pleasure in preparing extravagant and memorable feasts that we're still talking about years later. Many times a member will prepare a lunch that correlates to the theme of the book. Just yesterday, we had a book club gathering where we discussed a book in which the story focused on Chinese culture. Our host prepared a splendid feast of Chinese dishes from egg-drop soup, Chinese veggies, a rice/chicken bamboo shoots entree with home-made almond cookies and Asian pears for dessert. The table was scattered with hundreds of red rose petals for good luck and we each received our own Chinese proverb on a scroll of rice paper. We ate with chop sticks and ended the meal laughing at our quintessential fortune cookie predictions. This is what makes our book club as great and as unique as it is. Another time, our book was a coming-of-age novel about young boys launching amateur space rockets. For lunch, our host served us real astronaut food she'd purchased on the internet, decorated the table with toy space craft, baked cookies in the shape of rockets and sent us all home with goodie bags full of moon rock candies.

We also go on field trips. We went to Chicago last year for a private tour of architectural landmarks that were mentioned in the book we'd read. Another time a member hosted our group in her pitch black basement because the book was about coal miners. For our only light source, she gave us each a small miner's headlight that she'd ordered online. Then she conducted the entire discussion in near darkness as we each held a lump of coal she had given us. It was spooky, absorbing, hilarious and inventive all at the same time. Needless to say, the meeting was unforgettable. As for our honorary member...she works on the day we meet so unfortunately she cannot attend meetings on a regular basis. But she  hosts an annual book/beach/brunch bash at her lake house every summer which is rousing fun for all of us.

I would encourage anyone to start a book club if you're not in one already. It's loads of fun. Members should be committed to attending each meeting but they certainly don't have to be stuffy intellectuals or boring bookheads. The main requirements are a good sense of humor and a willingness to explore different forms of literature. As for me, I don't even like to read that much. I'm in it for the food, the friends and the crazy antics. That reminds me.....an upcoming book deals with fear of flying. Hmmmm...anybody up for skydiving lessons? Sphere: Related Content

11 comments:

Fran said...

I've been wanting to join a book club for ages. I just know I wouldn't be able to make it. It's ironic - the English teacher who doesn't have time to join a book club. I do read, though, so all is not lost. Some English teachers don't even do that.

Sarah said...

that sure sounds like a lot of fun. the lunch thing has gradually turned into a friendly competition huh? i see parachutes coming in next gathering.

Wow, that was awkward said...

This is the first book club I've ever heard of that actually does book club stuff that doesn't involve lots of wine and gossip. Kudos to you and your peeps. It sounds really fun.

I'm an avid reader. I have never done a book club, but I like having informal and impromptu conversations about books all the time. I have a recommendation for you. City of Thieves by David Branioff I think. You can have eggs for lunch. It's not a literary classic, nor is it a mass superstar author kind of book. But it is my fave of recent years by a longshot. If you like a preposterous story with fabulous characters loosely based on a true story - you will love this book.

Boomer Pie said...

WTWA...thanks for the book suggestion, City of Thieves. I will definitely look it up. And eggs for lunch? I'd host that one. I'm of the Rachel Ray 30 minute school of cooking. And we could all wear masks over our faces. Now you've got me going.....

Boomer Pie said...

Oh by the way, we do have wine...with lunch but not before. Champagne on occasion. You must join us!

Boomer Pie said...

Sarah...parachutes? Wouldn't that be a hoot? Although this winter our host dressed up in a full blown hockey uniform and served appetizers on hockey sticks since we had just read a book relating marginally to hockey. So I suppose parachutes aren't that far out of the question.

ReformingGeek said...

What fun!

I guess that means I'd have to finish a book in a week or two instead of a few months.

;-)

I love to read but I guess I love other things more.

Give up Internet time?

Surely you jest.

Pauline said...

Oh, darn, I really must find a book club. I love to read and your kind of club sounds like my kind of club...book talk and food! Thanks for a wonderfully entertaining post.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I'm also in a book club; we meet in the evening and have a "snack" (some snack!!) and we also take a couple of hours to discuss our book (or the possibility of other books). And you MUST read at least 100 pages before you give up on it (as I did recently with "100 Years of Solitude"). It's good fun!

Mark said...

Your book club sounds more fun than some I've been to.

gayle said...

I want to be in a book club! Yours sounds like so much fun!

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