on social gatherings and stories

posted on: May 1, 2014

I belong to a book club.

It's something I suspect I'll talk to my grandchildren about, and they will play at it, the way I played at garden parties and tea socials with my grandmother.

Some people look at me funny when I tell them I am in a book club and the median age is twenty-six, but for the record, my book club has made me indescribably happy. I've met new people who light me up. I've re-met old acquaintances and drawn so much closer to best friends. I have learned from the experiences and thoughts of women whose lives are so different from mine. We've tried new food together. New authors and genres. We have opened our eyes and our minds together, inadvertently creating the safest space for feeling and expressing both sweet and unsavory things.

But somewhere along the way, I forgot about the reading. I finish the books most months, sure, but I forgot that reading is not a social event, and books are not merely the ticket in.

But a couple of weeks ago, before heading out of town, I zipped through Target for soap and new a new razor and tanning lotion for my pale, pale leg skin. I tossed a popular book in to my basket because I knew I could breeze through it's pages in a day and half or so while sitting in a passenger seat.

The story was not original. The prose, not particularly well-written. The characters were far from flawlessly developed. But, I wasn't counting the pages or watching the clock. I entered a world that was not mine, and I learned to love a couple of people I did not know.

I remembered how much these stories affect my happiness. I live on a much higher plane when I read. When I turn off all of the damn screens, and open a book. You see, there are human bits in every word that lives on paper--I'm convinced of it.

And who doesn't need a reminder to be a bit more human?

2 thought{s}:

  1. I loved this. I so need to go get lost in a new book.

  2. I clicked over on a whim tonight, and I'm so glad I did. Reading makes me feel the same way, but sometimes -- due to pressure from the store, from customers, from all. the. voices. -- I forget that it's okay to read less-than-perfect stories. It's okay to not always read the most literary of literature. Just reading -- the very act of it -- is good for me. And yes, the literary world, the high-minded prose, is wonderful. But sometimes? It's enough -- maybe even better -- to just pick up a book on a whim, no motive or method. Thank goodness for books and for what they do to and for us.


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