For a long time now, I’ve had a list of things I wanted to do ‘some day.’ Among them … play piano again … sing in a temple choir … join a book club. Well I’ve been taking piano lessons for the past four years, when my kids ‘emptied the nest’ for college. And about two years ago, I joined a book club that’s ‘literally’ (pun intended) one of the best things I’ve ever done … with my mom.
The Elwood Public Library didn’t exist when my family and I moved to this Long Island neighborhood a couple of decades ago. It was really strange to pay high LI house prices and taxes, look for a great school for your kids, then discover the town didn’t have a library! (The adjoining town’s library – only a couple of miles away – did let us use their services. But I swear they treated you a little differently when they saw your ‘Elwood’ library card. We couldn’t even take out first-run books or movies.)
A few years later, the town did vote to build a library, which daughter Jamie coined the ‘trailer’ library and refused to patronize. It was a tiny little storefront space wedged behind a storage facility in the back of a parking lot on a major road.
Fast forward a few more years and we now have a beautiful little library in Elwood. There are loads of activities, and it has that ‘small town Hallmark movie’ feel about it when you get to know the friendly people who work and frequent there.
Our book club is equally endearing. We’re a small, diverse group of women who love to share great reads, fun discussions, and our different opinions and insights … about the book of the month and life in general. Mostly, we enjoy each others’ company. I’ve been lovingly ‘accused’ of loving every book (I do, mostly!) and people seem to like the mom-daughter dynamic. We are kind of like twins, with similar haircuts and styles … sometimes even wearing the same Costco shirts and jackets, most of which mom bought for me. Plus people know to keep the seat next to me free if I arrive first, since my mom likes to sit near me … a little embarrassing, but I’ll take it.
Beyond books, we got together at the library to watch the 1974, Albert Finley version of Murder on the Orient Express (since we read the original Agatha Christie book in honor of the newest movie remake that came out last year). A local author we read – Laura Schroff, who wrote the fabulous An Invisible Thread – visited when a member asked her on Facebook. And next month, I’m having the group over to my house to watch, what else, but the movie The Jane Austen Book Club.
Long story short (pun again), mom and I love our little book club. The third Wednesday evening of every month is sacred … we won’t miss it for anything. And no matter what stresses life throws our way, we come out feeling energized and happy, aglow with the thought of new friends and experiences.
Thirteen great book club reads:
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (highlighted in my ‘Show me the Inspiration‘ post)
- Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
- The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
- The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
- The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
- The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg
- Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
- Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
- Dead Wake by Erik Larsen
- The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
- The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
Share your favorite book(s)?
Watch for my next blog: Fortune Cookie wisdom