For a few years now I've been involved with a book club par excellence.
It was started by a bunch of ladies who attended church together and wanted to tackle some more challenging literature. But as with any journey, this endeavor sounded much more do-able and fun with companions, so they started reading, meeting, and discussing. A few years later, a friend invited me to come along for the literary trip and I am so glad she did!
We try to stick to classics, but that still leaves with a good number of books to choose from!
We've read American, British, French and Russian literature. We all have a penchant for 19th century British literature so we treat ourselves to a Jane Austen every once in a while. But we've also tried Solzhenitsyn, Shakespeare, Cather, Dostoevsky, Waugh, Dumas, Stevenson, and many, many more. We occasionally read short stories, like a collection of Flannery O'Connor stories, or what is considered children's literature, like Anne of Green Gables or The Secret Garden.
This month, we are reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. A novel I have meant to read for a long time but lacked the proper motivation. Now I have it!
One of the things I like most about this book club is that it motivates me to read things I wouldn't otherwise try. Thankfully, no one has insisted on Dickens because I might have to be very busy the night of that discussion! But I certainly wouldn't have tackled Solzhenitsyn on my own!
The discussions themselves are pretty great, too. We are no longer made up of all ladies from the same church, but we are all Reformed in some way, so we have a common worldview to start from. But the discussions still get pretty lively sometimes! I always walk away from a discussion feeling that I understand the book better, even if I didn't agree with everyone's take on the tale.
One of our usual hostesses, Joy, does a lovely job of fixing food that goes with the book. For instance, when we read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich she made black bread - it was MUCH tastier than what the prisoners ate, but was visually appropriate to the novel. Just a fun little addition to our reading experience.
When I hosted a discussion of Brideshead Revisited I made cucumber sandwiches, melons with prosciutto, and tea since all three were mentioned in the novel.
Our next meeting is the 27th and I'm hosting. Wonder what I should fix for food.
First things first, though. I'm only on chapter three. Guess I should go read!