Close Reading

Even though I have been a reader for a long time, I had never been a member of a book club. Yes, I had been invited to attend one or two with friends who thought I might be interested, but the fit never felt right—too much wine, not enough book; too much book, not enough life.

Last September my good friend Michele invited me to join her group—one that has ebbed and flowed here for almost 20 years. It was perhaps not the best time to initiate new members as the group was meeting virtually, but she and I have been sharing titles for years. Frankly I was flattered to be asked.

My maiden voyage was to be the October meeting when, as luck would have it, the club usually would have had their weekend retreat (Covid canceled that; Delta was its name!) to decide on the selections for the upcoming year. “No pressure,” I was assured numerous times, but I needed to submit a couple—maybe three—titles for consideration before we were to meet, with book reviews, something for the group members to read beforehand.

Michele explained how the Zoom version would work, now in its second year, and answered my questions, providing a bit of bio for the members I did not already know. Nine of us, were I to join, would comprise the “Inner Journeys” reading sisters.

To that first meeting, I brought Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation. Though I love them both, my enthusiasm for Ozeki carried the day and was our selection for February. Best of all, the Inner Journeys tribe welcomed me with open hearts—and minds, readers all.

Each one of the books we’ve read and discussed is better for my having shared it with others, different perspectives and insights deepening my own understanding. I struggle to be a critical reader; I admire anyone who can craft words and publish, but I have learned that even a book I wouldn’t have chosen on my own, is richer for the opinions of others.

Monday we discuss Klara and the Sun. I can’t wait!

9 thoughts on “Close Reading”

  1. How great that you found a group that fits you. I have never belonged to a but club but I imagine it is interesting sharing thoughts and insights on a book everyone has read,

    1. I am enjoying it a lot and must confess that I’d already read five of the books that were chosen. Rereading is not something I usually do, so even that has been a learning experience for me!

  2. I am in a book club that I started over 20 years ago! The part I love is that it forces me to read books and genres I’d never choose on my own. Sometimes I surprisingly love them, sometimes not. But, I enjoy the honest conversation and how the stories relate to our own lives. One tip that I often forget… keep a list of the books you read. It’s fun to look back!

    1. I list and briefly summarize all my reading, a habit I started when I retired. I love having some sort of reference to my reading history. Thanks for reading this post!

    1. Thanks for reading. I am enjoying it, and only one of the selections is one I don’t want to read, so July might be a tough month.

  3. I am determined to find (or start) a book club this year. It’s sometimes a challenge for me to be in a book club because I don’t like scheduled reading, but surely I can make an exception for one book a month? Your group’s selections sound excellent–and of course I’m curious what that July choice is now!

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