Tuesday, December 11, 2012

book club recap 2012.

I feel like I blog about my book club a lot, but I guess it makes sense: I've been a member of my book club for as long as I've been married. It's a new year's resolution that stuck, and it was my first-ever "grown-up" activity post-college. 

Things changed for the book club a bit this year. We hosted our first-ever author (via Skype!) after reading Kelle Hampton's memoir this spring. We attended The Hunger Games premiere at midnight, and we had a few of our most dedicated members move on to bigger and brighter places and things. I got sick the morning of one of our meetings and had to cancel, which sounds like it should not be a big deal -- and it wasn't -- but it felt like one. We've never cancelled a meeting, even when numbers have been low, mostly because we were afraid if we missed one meeting, we might never have another one. People get busy, and an early rule of book club was never to cancel. It made it too easy for people to miss the next one, and the next one, and the next one, until book club simply wouldn't exist anymore. 

Anyway, the point is, even wonderful things have to change with the times, and for the first time, we've had to recruit new members. Our numbers were dwindling, making it difficult for people to miss meetings or skip reading one month. 

Our last meeting of the year, though, filled my living room. There were 7 people in my house again, and even though we still miss our old members, I'm hopeful our December meeting was a sign of things to come, of new friends and good books and fun, spirited discussion, of a new year's resolution that still gets to claim its stake as the one that stuck. 

The truth is, I've been so tired lately. I haven't completely gotten the hang of retail just yet, and I know some of my friendships are suffering because of it. I don't have time for things like I used to, mostly because by the end of the day, I can barely open my eyes. A couple of years ago, I was all about celebration. I wanted my house filled to the brim with people, and I wanted fun, festive parties where everyone felt welcome. 

I still want those things, but priorities have shifted a bit, and I haven't hosted a party in a pretty long time. This month's book club felt like a return to normalcy, at least a little. Yes, I was tired, but I also loved having my friends in my home. I loved discussing books and sipping hot chocolate and exchanging pretty ornaments and greeting new faces.

Book club is something that makes me unbelievably happy. It is a grown-up ritual I am incredibly grateful for, and when I look back on the year's books we read, I'm reminded of how important books and friendship and hospitality are to me, even when they feel a little far off from where I'd like them to be. 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson




Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle

My absolute favorites of the year differ from what my friends might choose -- only two members even finished Crossing to Safety, which I loved -- but that's the beauty of book club. If you're looking for some end-of-the-year reading, I'd recommend Crossing to Safety, MWF Seeking BFF, and The Secret Keeper. Those were my favorites, and if you dig through my archives, you can see complete reading recaps of most of these on the blog. Happy reading!


Kate said...

This makes me want to join a book club...

Angela said...

My book club dwindled after one meeting! It was so easy to keep putting off the meetings until we just stopped trying. So sad. On a happier note, I LOVED Bloom. One of my favorites of the year.

Elizabeth said...

One of my 2013 goals is to start a book club. I hope the group we form will be as dedicated as the one you have.
P.S. MWF seeking BFF is one of my favorite books of 2012 as well!

Sabrina said...

Considering I sat at that first book club meeting, I say Bravo for traditions and longevity:) It's about feast and famine, some times are full of abundance and some are more scarce. But it all works out in the end. Well, that is my broad life principle but it applies here as well;)