If you have the opportunity, you should do what you can to join a book group. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the current book already. It doesn’t matter if you think the current book doesn’t look interesting. It also doesn’t matter if, after you’ve read the book, you don’t think you have anything intelligent to say about the book.
The truth of the matter is, it isn’t about the book. The book is meerly a vehicle through which the members of the group connect to each other.
The bookgroup I attend consists of an eclectic mix of old and young, with an equally varied collection of life histories. While I thought I knew everyone when we started, I’ve been very surprised to discover so much more about them. I didn’t know Lois had lived in Saudi Arabia, that Kathy had tutored in Watts, or that Alina spent her adolescence in a refugee camp in Germany before returning to Armenia. I’ve been uplifted by everyone’s stories of life, love and struggle.
Yes, as we read these books we are expanding our minds and increasing our cultural literacy. Yes, as we discuss the themes of the book we are improving our own reading comprehension. Yes, the desserts are lovely. But I don’t go for the treats. I don’t go for the book, even though it’s the point. I go to be with my sisters.
Our local library has made bookgroups even easier, with Bookgroup To Go Kits. One bag with 15 copies of the book, a sign-out sheet, and a booklet of background information for the person who is facilitating the discussions. I was the moderator last month, and loved reading all stuff about our historical fiction. I will definitely volunteer for that position again!
I connected with these women, and felt a greater sense of my own self, around the fire in Kathy’s cozy living room. While I frequently tell people “you should come” to our bookgroup, I’m not sad when they don’t. If it got too crowded, we wouldn’t have the same bond with each other during our discussions. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the library kits contain 15 books. I also don’t think that reading one book a month is too steep a price to pay for friendship.