Two years ago this fall I started a book club. The YA (young adult) book club I’d been part of (and loved - we read only YA books) had wound down, and I missed the experience. Reading books I normally wouldn’t choose, discussing them and hearing other points of view, the social aspect of gathering together with strong, like-minded women, the food and the wine. Of course, the wine.
It started off with a group of a few friends. We were already recommending titles amongst ourselves, now we’d be reading the same books at the same time and then sharing our thoughts on them at a designated time. While drinking wine. I started with a book I’d just finished and had already passed around to my friends, Brain on Fire: my month of madness by Susannah Cahalan (I challenge anyone to read this book and be able to easily put it down). I thought this was a good way to get the ball rolling. “Hey, let’s get together and discuss this book we’ve all already read!” and we’d go from there. We met at my house on a Tuesday evening. We stood in my kitchen and ate cheese and drank wine and talked about the book and various related subjects at length. The discussion flowed naturally and we stayed up way too late for a work night. And it was awesome. It was basically an episode of The Social, or so we like to think.
Now, our book club is official. We have a name (“Read Between the Wines”, naturally) and we meet regularly. Usually every 6 weeks because let’s be real, we’re busy and 4 weeks goes by way too fast to meet monthly. Sometimes we meet less often, slowing for the summer and holiday season. We’ve had book club getaways (hello wine tour!), unique meeting spaces (most recently the Lunenburg Seaport Museum and Makerspace), book themed drinks and food, we’ve even had a wine sponsor (thank you Summerhill Wines!). So we’re official but we are also pretty relaxed. We don’t choose a list of books for the year like some clubs. We don’t assign hosts way in advance, we don’t have mandatory discussion questions we have to cover. At each meeting, someone offers to host next time, we look at the calendar to see what date works best for the majority, throw out a few book suggestions and agree on a title.
We try to always meet on the weekend since the drinks seem to flow effortlessly. The last time we met midweek some sincerely regretted it the next morning. Now there are 12 of us regulars, though we can’t all always make it every time, and we don’t all always finish (or pickup) the book every time. Our conversations are wide-reaching. A lot of what is discussed at book club stays at book club. I think our crowning moment was when one of the hosts’ husband walked into the room and said "Oh! You really do talk about the book!" We showed him. The particular host that night is a teacher and had a white board with talking points and we were actually examining themes from the book. We are legit!
Some call it book club, some call it wine club, some call it therapy; we all call it a good time. I call it my Read Between the Wines book club and I’m proud of it! How about a regular section on the blog for reviews of our book club picks ?