When I visited Tallahassee, the group that formed “my” book club met at Books a Million’s coffee shop to catch up, reconnect, and laugh a great deal. It amazed me that everyone was able to get together on only a few minutes’ notice and what a great time we had. Of course the first thing we did was talk about Gone Girl which the book club was reading for February (or March) and Cathy pointed out that at our club meetings, we usually talked about anything but the book to catch up on what everyone was doing. And, here we were, together for the first time in 9 months, talking about a book!! Ironic to say the least. We quickly moved on to more important things like getting t-shirts that say “My book club can drink your book club under the table,” and other items of consequence. We talked about my experience of moving and living alone, people’s health, children, plans for travel, and just bathed in the closeness that friends with a history share. It was so special and I realized how much I miss our monthly meetings, the shared food and wine, and especially the laughter. Meeting at one another’s homes also gave us a sense of that person’s life — their dogs, children, husbands, cats — and the artwork, photos, and mementoes that say so much about each one of us.
I’m pretty sure that we were a bit loud and garnered stares from people in the bookstore and in the café but I thought at the time they were jealous of us. It is rare, I think, that such a diverse group finds so much in common. Perhaps it’s our shared political philosophy, our ideas about public education, and that there’s always something new to learn from one another. Maybe it’s the shared love of books of all kinds — while we often disagreed about the books we read (an eclectic list for sure!), we all agreed that there is something positive that comes from reading things that make us uncomfortable or that we defend as bad writing or even just plain boring! The time went all too quickly and it was surely one of the highlights of my trip to Tallahassee.
Thinking about how books affect us, I remarked to my friend Lynda that when I was reading the Maisie Dobbs mysteries I drank a lot of tea. In Maisie’s London of the 1920s-1930s tea cured all ills and, regardless of what was happening, a cuppa would help clear one’s head and improve matters in general. Now I am reading Guido Brunetti mysteries set in Venice and I find myself craving dry white and red wine. I laughed at myself this morning while I was reading the Brunetti mystery at the diner as I realized this phenomenon. What a compliment to the author, I think, that the story so pulls me in that I want to quench my thirst with the drink that will improve even the most dire events. Perhaps that’s my desire to find an easy way to improve my life or maybe it’s just the fun of reading a good mystery! I think I’ll finish here and have a cup of tea. It’s too early for wine!