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Monday, February 22, 2010

B is for Book Club

In continuing with my Alphabet of Gratitude, I take a look at the letter B.
B is for Book Club!
I used to be part of a book club that met for three years.  We called ourselves the Pageturners and our entire membership was employed by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  Together, we read 30 books, had a poetry swap, celebrated weddings and welcomed two baby girls and one baby boy.  Over the years, we genuinely wished each other the best of luck at new jobs even though it meant that eventually it became harder and harder for our book club to continue meeting.  We read our last book together in December of 2008. 

My friend Sheba moved back to Toronto this summer with her family. One of the things she missed most about Brooklyn was her book club.

Each of us was missing the bond, the connections and the sense of community that a book club brings into one's life so in September of 2009, we formed a new book club.  Sheba invited her longtime friend Marta.  I invited Krista, a special co-worker from my days at YES.  I asked Naaz to join us.  She and I reconnected ten years after we had both been camp counsellors at Camp Marifa.  I also asked my friend Sylvie to be part of the club.  She and I work together at Surrey Place Centre and often talk about books.  I asked Makeda to join us too.  Growing up, we lived on the same street, just one block away from each other.  We've known each other since I was in grade one and she was in grade two!  Makeda and I asked Lori, a friend from high school and our newest member, to round out the club.  And so began a new book club that has since met monthly with six books under our belt with hopes of many more.

This month, we read Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture.  Krista and her family opened their home to us and we watched Randy deliver his 2007 lecture, the catalyst to the book.  Randy was living with pancreatic cancer when he delivered his lecture and passed away 10 months later leaving behind important lessons on achieving childhood dreams for his wife and three young children.  Being one who is very much in touch with my tears, I used two Kleenexes for this meeting.  The reaction to the book and lecture was mixed.  The conversation that followed was diverse, funny, heart felt and thought provoking.
People often ask me wide-eyed and with wonder, "What do you do at book club?"  "What do you talk about?" "What happens?" "Who says what?"

Men, especially, seem to nod their heads in confusion over the need for a club to talk about books.  I heard that Sheba and Marta's husbands want to start their own pamphlet club.  Apparently, a pamphlet is all they think they can manage to read.  Funny!

It's quite simple really.  We talk about the books we've read.  We discuss plot lines, characters, our likes and dislikes.  Our intention is to pour over a book BUT when you are part of such an outstanding group of women there are other benefits that naturally start to spill over... 

A few meetings ago, we started swapping books.  Everyone is invited to bring books they've read and no longer want to hold on to, to share with the group.  Here's a look at what was on the swap table this month. 

Book club is a community we've created for ourselves.  Krista invited us to help the community at large by bringing donations to help support some local organizations.  Look below at what we are able to gather!
Krista sent us this email today to let us know how we did... 
you guys ROCK!  i have sorted through all of the bags and boxes and am more than a bit overwhelmed.  we have three large piles of donations and every one of them is going to THRILL the recipients.  
the youth shelter seldom receives men's clothing and will be stocked for mini giveaway toiletries for a number of weeks. 
the women's shelter is going to have some women with much higher spirits as they put on jewellery, shoes and perfumes that they normally would never have.  
the teen mom's shelter is about to get an influx of teen girl stuff and baby's toys that will make digging through their sharing centre a truly fun experience for mom and baby alike.
thank you sooooooooo much!  i can't tell you how many people are going to be touched by this."
So what do we do at book club?
     We talk, eat, laugh, disagree, agree, eat some more, talk some more and laugh some more. 
What do we talk about?
     Books of course but also whatever is on our minds.  Sometimes we talk about things that have nothing to do with books. We go off on tangents.  We share recipes. We talk about other books. We gush about our families and most importantly - we listen to each other throughout it all.
What happens at my book club?
      Eight smart, kind, caring, generous women from various walks of life share common experiences through reading, sharing, listening and laughing.
Happy half year birthday 416bookclub! I am so grateful for each and every chapter we've read and shared together. Here's to volumes more!


bklyn76 said...

b would be for bookclub for me too! i'm grateful you asked me to join!

Kimminita said...

Books, also a love of my life. And your bookclub sounds amazing. May many chapters follow.

rachel awes said...

dearest faiza, oh, i so enjoyed the last lecture...i've just been enjoying "mala of the heart/108 Sacred Poems" by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt...lovely contemplative pieces. and i also adore the book of YOUR life. happy day to you :)

Doublesided said...

LOL pamphlet club - what are they like?! Certainly sounds like you ladies have fun at your meetings. Also good to see you putting the club to other uses such as collecting donations.

Have you tried ??

tez said...

I've always wanted to be a member of a bookclub - more for the bonding and interaction with girlfriends than for book discussions... although, you know how I love my books! I'm so happy that you have such a great time at your bookclub.

Krin said...

Aww...that makes me miss our book club! Why, oh why, do we have to be so spread out?!

Faiza said...

bklyn76 - i heart you.

kimminita - thanks k. what are you reading right now?

rachel awes - am going to pick up the nathwani/vogt book. it sounds wonderful.

Doublesided - i feel like all the other stuff is just what happens when women get together. i use

tez - what happened to your int'l skype bookclub?

Krin - i miss our pageturner crew too. one other thing that made our club wonderful was that family came first for everyone. so now we are spread out but we made some memories didn't we?

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