It’s ironic that I am feeling thankful for being in book clubs because actually I was dreading this month’s meeting. As background: I have picked quite a few books in the last few months and the book I chose this month, “A Pavilion of Women” by Pearl S. Buck was a difficult book. I heard rumblings from the group ahead of time and so I knew it wasn’t going to be reviewed favorably by my club.
Yet we had a great discussion and in the end I am certain they were glad they read it even though they didn’t love it as much as I did.
Which got me thinking about why I love book club.
First, it’s a great way to broaden what you read. For example, I bet none of these women would have picked this book up on their own. And I have read a number of books that given my own biases and opinions I would have never read. For example, I recently read “The Hunger Games” which was picked by my club but I would not have read on my own.
Second, it’s a way to keep you “gently” accountable to keep reading books and broaden your knowledge. I say “gently” because I always say there is no shame allowed in book club and yet I know it’s uncomfortable to come to the club if you haven’t read the book. Our book clubs are so social and fun that you want to attend. So keeping on top of the book is a way to make sure you represent yourself well and is good encouragement to read the book.
Third, discussing a good book can help you see diffferent points of view about a book. This happened to me this month. The first time I read this book was about 7 years ago. My good friend, JL had us read it for the other club I am in. The book was very interesting to us because the premise is about a 40 year old wealthy Chinese woman who at the age of 40 decides to give her husband a concubine and relieve herself of her sexual duties to him. (Edgy, right?) We had so much fun discussing the premise because we ourselves were turning 40.
I decided to re-read the book because I loved it so much the first time. I was not disappointed the second time but was surprised by how much of the story I forgot. (Note to self: must re-read books for book club if original reading is more than 5 years ago!). But my book club found a bunch of different things to discuss and after listening to them, I agree that while the book was provacative and way ahead of it’s time, there was the need for some editing in the second half of the book.
Which ultimately led me to my feeling of thankfulness.
So when I cut my turkey this Thursday I will obviously be thankful for my family, friends, job and good health. But I will also be thankful for my book clubs (all four of them!) and the women I know and love from these clubs.