My Book Club Sisters

8220_552358831838_5910360_n In the beginning, four a half years ago, our book club actually discussed books. Half a dozen women, composed of recently acquainted strangers, we hid behind our hard-backed covers so we did not have to meet each other’s eyes.

It did not matter if we loved the books (The Help) or hated them (I’ll give you a hint: it had to do with time travel and a wife). We still highlighted certain passages or dog-eared pages, so we could later reread scenes over our steaming cups of chai tea or Italian hot chocolate, prepared at our favorite coffee shop that is closed now.

We met because we loved books. We met because we loved words. We met because we hoped, through our monthly gatherings, we might garner a few friends.

But not only did we become friends; we became sisters. Soon, the local coffee shop could no longer contain us. It wasn’t that we’d grown in number, because our numbers have mostly remained the same. It was the volume of our laughter that had grown. Lowering our inhibitions and our book covers, we started discussing our real lives beyond the safe bounds of the fictional page.

We started meeting at bustling Indian restaurants and our homes, where we could kick off our shoes and go deep.

We discussed our marriages and the future prospect of children. We talked about our dreams and our work. Through laughter, we shouldered each other’s burdens. Through tears, we made them a little easier to bear.

39474_576431994028_2014522_n We’d been meeting for two years when our first book club friend announced that she was pregnant. We screamed and we hugged. A few months later, our next friend announced that she was pregnant. Both little girls were infants when I announced that I was expecting, too. My dear friend announced her pregnancy a few months after that.

Within two and a half years, four of us six book club members gave birth. The books towering on our nightstands gathered dust as we instead rocked our children and whisper-read Guess How Much I Love You and Goodnight, Moon.

The rate which we devoured books slowed, but we did not stop meeting or discussing them. We brought our children into the book club and wondered at the volume our precious offspring could produce, making it difficult to think or speak. For a while, we left our children at home with their fathers and showed each other pictures of our growing children instead.

We laughed about sleep deprivation and got teary-eyed over the potential loss of one of our book club members, who was moving away.
13332_513350216362_5643833_n We’ll visit, we promised, hugging her tight, but I think we all wondered if we actually would.

But last weekend, our book club did reunite. We traveled to visit two of our members. We ate lunch and then walked through the city, arm in arm, to a coffee shop much like the one in which our first meetings took place.

Crowding around a table that fit our numbers but not our volume, we sipped chai and coffee and shared decadent bites of rum balls, chocolate éclairs, and hazelnut mousse.

Sitting around that table, we no longer hid behind hard-backed books or glued our eyes to passages of the page. Instead, we talked about our marriages, our children, our dreams, and our work. And though we might not get to meet once a month with our original members, I am so incredibly grateful that through the written word, I have garnered a book club that has turned into my sisters and my friends.

Are you part of a book club? If so, please share the books you’ve been reading over the past three months!

If you’d like to join a book club, please contact the wonderful Kathy Patrick, the founder of Pulpwood Queens: the largest “meeting and discussing” book club in the world!

Here is an excerpt from her website:

The Pulpwood Queens is an inclusive book club. We welcome all to join. Our motto is “where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the RULE!” Our sole mission and purpose is to promote authors, books, literacy, reading and help undiscovered authors get discovered in a big way!


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Comments

  1. It’s funny (and wonderful) how friends can grow to become as close as a second family of sorts, and so gratifying too, isn’t it? Your book club sisters are precious, Jolina, and your post is a lovely tribute!

  2. Denise says:

    Loved reading about your bookclub & what these friends mean to you. The pictures were beautiful too. I feel the same about my group of 7 women (The Passionate Bookclub). I’ve been with them since Oct. 98 (they formed in Oct. 94). The last 3 books we’ve read were “Tales of Burning Love” – Louise Erdrich; “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (non-fiction) – Rebecca Sklott; & “Girl with a Pearl Earring” – Tracey Chevalier. Next is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior.” There is nothing else like meeting to share our lives & discuss the written word. (P.S. I love your blog entries … & look forward to your book’s release).

  3. What a wonderful story!! I am so jealous because I’ve been a part of 3 book groups but nothing this wonderful or special. I suspect it’s because everyone is as nice as you are. Love this! (As for the book you didn’t like so much, I’m with you! Me neither!)

  4. Ha! So you could figure out my tip, huh? ; ) I have been blessed with those book club girls. They were my first real friends in this area, and they are so dear to my heart!

  5. Very fun to read your Book Club story. I’m not a part of one right now–except for She Reads online–b/c of other demands on my time (named Jackson and Madeline), but those years with my book club gals were formative. They helped to make me the reader and writer I am today. Powerful stuff, book clubs! Highly recommended.

    • I laughed out loud when you named the “demands” on your time! I know exactly how that is, Katherine. Our book club mainly just suggests books now, instead of demanding everyone read one once a month. Though, since I’ve started listening to audiobooks, I “read” about one a week. I love it!

  6. What a timely post. Even living out in the desert boonies, I have managed to START a book club. We met once at the end of March (and next book club is this Friday!) and only one of us liked the first book. Ha ha. But it was a wonderful discussion and camaraderie; we’re already friends, but even in that SINGLE meeting, we all learned so much more about one another. I am over-the-moon happy that I found women who like to read and discuss books. And as for “that book” you didn’t like… I’m with you and Julia. I never saw what all the fuss was about and really, truly, didn’t care for it. The one we’re discussing on Friday (The Snow Child), I am certain, is going to get better ‘ratings’t than our first, an also-popular book right now.

  7. Oh, I need to read The Snow Child; I’ve heard wonderful things about it as well! And kudos to you for starting a book club. I would imagine that would be difficult where you are–as difficult as where I am! Thank goodness literacy thrives even in the middle of nowhere!

  8. You are truly blessed to have such a great group. I was in a bookclub through church. But our group didn’t last unfortunately. I loved the discussions though.

  9. It took me a long time but I finally found the group that fits me well. It’s a neighborhood book club of all ages. We mostly just have books in common but it works well. They came to my Listen to Your Mother show. Next month we’re going to the Great Gatsby movie together.

    I LOVED reading about your group!

    We take the summer off, but last month we read Beautiful Ruins. Everyone loved it!

    • So glad you found your match, Nina! We’re all very different in our book club, too, but I think that’s what makes it fun. : ) You’ll have to let me know how Gatsby is. I want to see it also. I just started Beautiful Ruins, too. I’m enjoying it immensely!

  10. I’m glad I get to be a part of your club!!! Our group is a treasure to me, far more valuable than perishable things such as rubies or gold.

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