Friday, December 2, 2011

my book club (lyn)

When Alexander was in 4th grade, Andrea and I co-chaired a daily ice-cream cart to raise money for the school.  Her daughter was a classmate of Alexander’s, and it was a school tradition that the 4th grade class would run the ice cream cart at the end of each day.  Andrea and I are both well organized and excel-literate.  In past years, the money collected had been housed in an unlocked box in a supply closet that was frequently broken into.  There was no security and no accountability.  So Andrea and I decided to professional-ize the process.  We created a spreadsheet and logged all entries.  We also opened a joint bank account.  Every Friday, we took stacks of singles to the local CitiBank.  We neatly bundled all the dollars and faced them in the same direction.  We then waited patiently while a teller counted and recounted hundreds of ones.  For our efforts, we almost lost our jobs as the ice cream chairs.  Apparently the PTA preferred the former careless method, as depositing school money in a personal bank account was against school rules. We found a compromise and our friendship was cemented.  It was Andrea who invited me into the book club over seven years ago.  Tonight she is hosting.

Over the years I have been part of this club, members have come and gone, but about nine of us have remained pretty loyal (although I last attended in May).  We meet once every six weeks or so, and the person hosting gets to choose the next book.  Before Kindle, we weren’t allowed to pick hard cover books (“too heavy to commute with,”) but that ban is now lifted.  It’s a smart group of literate women so the books tend to be more intellectual than the mindless mysteries and thrillers I typically read.

I arrive at Andrea’s hungry, which is a mistake, because I eat far more than I should.  Andrea has prepared an eclectic array of great foods:  fig pizza, her own guacamole and chips, some kind of spicy marinated steak, grapes, and chocolate covered peanuts.  There is more but these are the things I eat, along with sparkling water.  No need to add additional points by including wine.  Most of us arrive by 8, and by 10:30, we have covered all sorts of topics, but none about the book we have come to discuss (and which I haven’t read).

That’s the thing about this book club.  We barely discuss the book (especially if it’s one no one likes, which is the case tonight for The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides).  The discussion is so short that by the time I get up to get yet another slice of the scrumptious fig pizza and sit back down, everyone has voiced their negative opinion and the conversation has moved on to something else.  This used to bother me but it doesn’t anymore.  I really like these girls…they are smart, interesting, funny, and kind.  Over the seven years, we have shared a lot…kids growing up and going to college, new careers, two marriages ending, a major health crisis, lost jobs, new jobs, children problems, children accomplishments, weight gains and losses, vacations to exotic places, significant-other issues, renovated apartments, parent illnesses and deaths, and all sorts of things in between.  I’m lucky to be part of this great group.  And I bet that if we find a book that people have strong opinions about, we will have a smart, spirited conversation about it.  Maybe that will be the next book.  Unbroken by Lauren Hillebrand.  But even if it isn’t, I know the conversations and friendships will be well worth the night out.  Just like tonight.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful! You captured the spirit of the group so well. We have evolved far beyond a book club. Thank you so much for saying so eloquently what we all feel.