Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Women On My Walk #6 - My Book Club

Among the women who are a regular part of my life Grams counts a group of ladies known as The Book Snobs. The Book Snobs meet monthly to have a few drinks, share dinner, and discuss a book. These ladies feed my intellect and nourish my soul.

Grams has always been an avid reader. So much so that when I was a child, my mother used to have to make me go outside and play. I would have much preferred to just stay inside and read all summer long. Often when she chased me outside I would take a book, climb a tree, and sit there and read all afternoon. I learned early in life that books could take me away. In the pages of a book I could go anywhere and be anything.

I discovered poetry in my Childcraft books as soon as I could read. I loved Robert Louis Stevenson's poem, Happy Thought.
The world is so full
of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all
be as happy as kings.
And Adelaide Love's poem, A Book, made me see what a book could teach me about the world.
A book, I think, is very like
A little golden door
That takes me into places
Where I've never been before.

It leads me into fairyland
Or countries strange and far.
And, best of all, the golden door
Always stands ajar.
Those nursery rhymes and fairy tales were followed by The Bobbsey Twins and The Little House Books. Then I moved on to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. When we moved to Corpus Christi, I was ten years old and discovered "The Bookmobile" for the first time. It opened whole new world of reading and books for me.

As a young teen I discovered Harold Robbins. I know for sure that my mother had no idea about the contents of such trashy novels as A Stone for Danny Fisher and The Carpetbaggers or that they were extremely inappropriate reading for a 13-year-old girl.

In my twenties and thirties my taste turned to romance novels by writers like Rosemary Rogers, Johanna Lindsey, and Nora Roberts.Those bodice-rippers helped me make it through all the years of diapers, potty-training, little league, and teenagers.

In elementary school I was delighted when the teacher would read a book aloud. I waited with anticipation for the period right after lunch when she would read every day.  And in junior high and high school I absolutely adored English classes. Teacher-led discussions that delved into the depths of a book were my favorite part of school.

Naturally, I kept reading after I finished school, but I missed the fulfillment of discussing books. Over the years I've found a few friends who share my enthusiasm for books; most notably, my friends Sandy and Janna. Both of them share my love of reading and discussing books.

For years, Janna and I talked about wanting to join a book club. So when Janna approached me a couple of years ago about joining a new club with some of her friends, I jumped at the opportunity.

The Book Snobs have added variety to my reading list. Thanks to them I've read books I would never have read on my own. We started with Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, a really great read about a depression-era circus. We've read everything from Victorian novels to bestsellers to banned books. We've discussed a wide range of topics including medical ethics and mental illness. We've read some chick lit, some new age, and some classics. We even tackled Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet and read it in one month. The Book Snobs have seriously broadened my reading horizons. You can see our reading list on our blog, The Book Snobs.

The women of the Book Snobs share my love of books and reading. Reading with The Book Snobs has made me a more active reader. I still can't bring myself to write in the margins or highlight my books; but now I read with a stack of post-it notes to mark passages that I want to discuss. The Book Snobs provide a place to discuss books and all that's contained in them. That one night a month when I know that I can kick back with "The Snobs," have a glass of wine, a good dinner, and talk about books is something I look forward to every month.

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