As you may know, I belong to two book clubs: one in my building that meets monthly, and one with my tea club that meets five times a year. You also know that I set a yearly reading goal of fifty books, so my aim is to finish one book a week. We can assume that I love to read, and I love to discuss books that I’ve read

Recently I found out that two lower Manhattan book stores hold book clubs once a month.

Can you see the lightbulb flashing?

I’m considering joining these two book clubs.

One of them meets at my local Barnes and Noble and reads new and hyped books. The May selection is “Lost Roses” by the same woman who wrote “Lilac Girls”. What do I think about the book? Well, that’s a secret I’m going to share at my first book club meeting…

The other book club is at an smaller more eclectic book shop. They focus on literature in translation, and the first book is a biography about some French person. I’m fifty/fifty as to whether I start out with this book this month.

Why am I considering joining two new book clubs?

Well, that’s easy: I know I need to fill up some of my evenings. Empty nest=empty evenings. And while I do chill to a certain extent, in the beginning it will be hard to adjust to not having my daughter in the apartment. I’ve gotten used to be asked to review an essay or quiz her on something- this has been my life for twelve years- assistant to the student. At 11, I usually sit in her room with her for a few minutes. We both sip tea and discuss our day that just passed, or out day coming up. This has become our ritual. And I know come August 23, it will abruptly end. Many of my rituals will end.

The thought of not having a routine is unsettling.

I am the Queen of routine. I have routines and patterns and spreadsheets for literally everything. I need to start integrating my new routine into place before she leaves…I need to integrate in many new routines.

Can you feel me hyperventilating?

Breath. Focus. Logic.

The problem with my book clubs is that they happen to meet on consecutive evenings: first Monday of the month for one, the first Tuesday of the month for the other. Do I want to have book clubs back to back? Can I walk into one of them and ask them to change the date? No? Yeah- I guess that’s taking control to a whole new level…

The other problem is that I don’t love certain genres. I’m OK with the club that reads the hyped books: I’m probably reading them on my own anyway. But the other? I have no idea if it’s going to be a bunch on non fiction. I don’t love discussing non fiction books in book club. I mean, what do you say? She shouldn’t have done that with her life? What can you actually discuss about a biography other than reiterate what the author said in the book…And again, I can’t dictate what this club should read…

And finally- if I belong to all these book clubs, will I have time to read the books that I just want to read for my pleasure? I realize that I will have more time, but… Do I want to make my yearly reading goal 75 books?

Now I get that book clubs are just a way to hide behind the loneliness that I will experience, but we all need something to hide behind for a little while, until we get out feet back on the ground. And a book club is relatively inexpensive, and not exactly bad for you. I’m already addicted to books as it is. What’s a few more?

49 thoughts on “The Bookclubs

  1. I don’t know how to advise you but it’s almost like looking in the mirror…will I be like this? I tend to get depressed when the routine dwindles. I keep thinking, if travel isn’t an option, take in foster animals? If we’re still in a house that would be possible, but if not….meh.

    I’m sure you’ll do up a pro and con list to help you arrive at your decision. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  2. While I really like the idea of a book club, because talking about books is awesome, I don’t know that I could do it. I’m such a horrifically picky reader and my choices are almost always mood based. That and I would chafe at having finished a book long before everyone else and have to be patient for them to finish. The one time I attempted to participate in one was a complete disaster for that very reason (didn’t help that it was an online group). If I could get past those issues for me, I think I would adore something like this. I’d also probably go nuts in other things like painting or photography groups.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I like things in small doses, and can easily tire of them if I do them too much. You might try something new that you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t had the time because of full-time parenting. A new course or hobby. Just a thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I will just say “all the best as you try new things” and leave any social psychology remarks to myself. I will interject though that the club focused on literature in translation (a genre I would never likely choose on my own) does however sound much like an interesting college course and may prove challenging and quite interesting. Fun blog posts could be had from that one!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I remember when my daughter joined the Army and suddenly I found myself with all of this time, it was weird but then my career filled the gaps. I found a similar situation when I retired. I had time again. And it was weird for a while. But then I filled it all up joining discussion groups, taking classes and after a while I found it to be too much and I whittled it back again into a better balance. Now I enjoy my alone time and the time I spend hiking the most ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why limit yourself to book clubs? Is there a student in your building that you could work with reading essays and other things to fill in the gap once a week? At 11 o’clock every night you could write down one thing maybe something that she would like or that you would do together or a direction you feel like moving in and send it to your daughter once a week? I’m so excited for you. There is a whole world for you to explore…outside or from your couch.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. How about taking an art class or something? I know that when I worked at Michaels they had lots of different classes going on. Do you have something similar near you? They are not as expensive as classes in a college. Or, the CreativeLive classes that are offered online? I am an affiliate of them and there are SO many that are out there on all kinds of subjects, photography, arts and crafts, money management, lifestyle, etc. Check this link:

    They have some free classes each week and are always running discounts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish you the best of luck as you decide what is the best path for you!! I have often thought about book clubs – as I do like to read, but I just don’t have the free time at this point in life. Plus I would more than likely hide in the back row than to actually voice my opinion. While the world of blogging has boosted my confidence the last 2 years, it is still much easier to write out my thoughts and opinions tucked behind the screen rather than in a room full of peers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just don’t obligate yourself to so many book clubs, that you somehow lose the pure love of reading for yourself… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love discussing non fiction. I love to revisit biographies and look at the different perspectives of how things could have been if he/she had not taken that risk or not identified that opportunity. I love to think about and feel what that person must have told himself/herself or felt while taking that step.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Personally, Iโ€™d ask myself what crazy thing Iโ€™ve always wanted to try but didnโ€™t… and then do that! Like learn to tango, or dive, or sculpt. How about volunteering at a soup kitchen? I suggest variety rather than yet another book club…

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I joined a book club at the beginning of 2018. It was a great decision and I’ve met some wonderful new people. Sometimes it’s about the books and sometimes it’s about the people. At a book store I wonder if they get the same people each time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Book clubs are such an interesting social dynamic. I belonged to one through a MeetUp group for over a year and quit because the leader was a tyrant. I tried another and it was too structured and impersonal in some ways. Both were activating my Rebel side for some reason — having to complete a book in a certain time frame just doesn’t work for me. I love reading, but I love it at my pace, not due to an upcoming deadline.

    I like the idea of branching into other hobbies and/or volunteering. Some of the greatest sense of joy and giving back has been volunteering at schools and a prison (long story).

    Embrace your new chapter and enjoy the adventure of it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I volunteered with a really interesting program that brought a Gavel Club (aka Toastmasters) to men who were preparing for parole after spending 25+ years in prison. The men were gracious hosts, thankful to have us there and truly insightful. Fascinating stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

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