I used to think joining a book club was a luxury. It seemed a bit romanticized. Women joining together over wine or dinner or coffee and tea to discuss lofty ideas in a book they’d all agreed to read.
And then I had my moments of thinking the opposite. Surely these women gathered together under the pretext of discussing ideas when, in fact, they were gossiping and drinking wine and using it as an excuse to get together.
My only real experience with book discussions was limited to either “Here, you’ve got to read this!” passing comments or my literature classes in college where I often left feeling like I was obviously some type of nitwit because I certainly never interpreted that passage THAT way. Add to that the poor guidance I was given through high school in reading classic pieces of literature and I tended to imagine a club to discuss books could only be fun if it involved easy, modern fiction.
Ahhh, how my tune has changed. Or in this case, my tastes, my perceptions, my intentions.
I’ve been in my current book club now for almost four years. Four beautiful years of reading, reflecting, conversing. Four beautiful years of intentional conversations about shared reading. Four beautiful years of a community of women that I eagerly gather together with once a month where we can express our own journeys through discussions based on characters and plots and settings and circumstances.
So the thing about my book club is it has been a bit fluid in the past. In fact, of the original members, I am the only one that remains. Members have changed, book lists have changed, discussion formats have changed, venues have changed. Even our name has changed (we are now the Choco-Lit Society…because who doesn’t want to eat chocolate while discussing books?!)
One thing has not changed though. Intentional literary discussions.
Intentional literary discussions (whether done with a group of like-minded women, a group of diverse women, your husband, your sister, or even your kids) is the pathway to our souls. Our minds are wired for stories and character transformation…our own character transformation…happens when we soak up a piece of literature and gather together to hash out the details. We open ourselves to alternative perspectives, constructive criticism and a deeper understanding of ideas when we engage in intentional literary conversations.
Not every book turns out to be what I imagined. Not every book sparks my imagination. Some books are lovelier than others. Some speak to my soul more deeply. Some I struggle with. Some I learn from. Some I connect with.
But the conversation that takes place at book club? That’s what makes each and every book worth reading.
Because when we come together and actually, intentionally, discuss the book, our minds grow. Our souls connect over a literary world we’ve immersed ourselves in. Suddenly the great big world seems a little bit smaller because it turns out that we all have joys to celebrate, hardships to endure, lessons to learn and we discover that through deep, heartfelt discussions that anchor our floating thoughts to concrete words.
This year to mark the our literary intentions of 2017, we have decided to lay out our plans for the entire year (in the past we chose books a month or two in advance). We are focusing on classic pieces of literature this year. We gather together on the last Monday of every month at 7 in the evening to discuss, with intention, the book for the month. And each of these books are full of beautiful, worthy subjects to discuss.
- Anne of Green Gables
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- Around the World in 80 Days
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- Little Women
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Robinson Crusoe
- Madame Bovary
- Heart of Darkness
- Gone with the Wind
I encourage you, if you are not part of a book club already, to join one. Personally, I fail at online book clubs, but I know many women who thrive in them. Join an intentional conversation and see the goodness, the beauty and the truth that lie hidden behind a literary conversation. And then won’t you come back and share your experience with us?