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Saturday, January 5, 2008

How Book Club Saved My Sanity

I had a nice walk in the rain this morning. I went over to the library to pick up a copy of "Cold Sassy Tree" by Olive Ann Burns. It's the February book club selection at the Monroe Library, and I've decided to give them another try.

I went last November because the Bates County Bookies had already done "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. It was one of our favorite books, and I thought that it would be a good introduction to the local book club. I wasn't ready for the change...although the ladies were nice and the conversation intelligent, I felt like I was betraying the Bookies. I wanted Cheryl, Sally, Jennifer, Candi, Linda H., Diane, Melissa and Donna...I wanted home-baked treats, tea, and the easy camaraderie of old friends. And they didn't serve snacks - not even tea.

The Bookies began the same summer my ex left. Cheyrl talked me into going to that first meeting. Book club gave me a reason to leave the house one evening a month at a time when I would have rather not gone out. I made new friends, we read some good books - and a few stinkers. I started to heal, and to build a life as a single person. Part of the appeal was the food! The Bookie who had chosen the book would bring treats - often homemade, and often following the theme of the book. Since "The Devil in the White City" was about the World's Fair at the turn of the century, we had Juicy Fruit gum, popcorn, iced tea and lemonaide - fair food mentioned in the book!

As I started to explore making changes - ones that I chose - the Bookies offered encouragement and practical advice. I knew that I wanted a different job, but saw my lack of a college education as a huge barrier. It was a Bookies field trip to the Cheesecake Factory that led me to believe that I still had a chance to do something different. A lucky seating arrangement put me at the table with Donna and Georgeanne. Those lovely women took the time to ask me about my dreams, and to assure me that I still had time to make them come true. They told me bits of their own stories, encouraged me to look for a classes that would move me closer to what I really wanted, and gave me tips on financing an education. By the end of the meal they had me convinced that I should go for it! I still wasn't sure what "it" was, but I knew I was going to start looking for it.

I'm going to start "Cold Sassy Tree" tonight. I'll have to call the library to let them know I'll be coming to book club on Tuesday, even though I couldn't get that book. Who knows who I'll meet there. Perhaps my next mentor will be there...or my first student...

1 comment:

  1. Book club sounds very cool. Books have been a huge part of my life. I still easily disappear into a bookstore not to come out for 4 or 5 hours. If I spend money, its generally only on 2 things... food and books.

    One of my favorite books ever is SPIRITWALKER by Hank Wesselman. Here is his site if you would like to check him out:

    I am re-reading SPIRITWALKER right now. It is a gem of a book with so much good stuff, despite being non-fiction it reads like an adventure novel. I highly recommend it. Just today I discovered Greg Somer had read it. Which makes him the only person in the WAS community that I know who has read it.


My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"