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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Lucky Guy

After adjourning our last meeting of the year earlier this evening, I began reflecting on the benefits I've derived running my own book club since January. If you've ever had a similar experience, I'd enjoy hearing how you've benefitted.

* Doing the research before each meeting provides a legitimate reason to indulge my interest in authors and the writing process.

* Facilitating the meetings - as long as I remember to keep my facilitator hat on - ensures I will learn what others took from the book. And, because I select only books that have moved me - for better or worse - more often than not, my appreciation for the books grows after the discussions, especially when the questions I prepare hit their mark.

* Because my wife is in the club, our conversations - before and after the meetings - are another way to deepen my understanding of each book. For example, Anthony Doerr's 2014 novel "All The Light We Cannot See," which was tonight's selection, is infused with vivid detail about the natural world. On my first pass, I didn't pay as much attention to that element of the novel as my wife later did when she read it. But following one of our pre-meeting conversations, I took time to tune in to that while reviewing my annotations and notes. Wow. If you've not read "All The Light ..." - but plan to do so soon - be sure to luxuriate in that piece of this author's gift.          

It's very possible looking at these books via the lens of my partner of forty years might be the biggest benefit of all.

1 comment:

  1. Aw shucks, that last sentence was sweet! And now I’ll tell you my experiences in dealing with people in a literary discussion. I am not the primary organizer of the four novel and short story groups I attend regularly. I lead two of these groups on a voluntary, rotational basis. They are not “my” clubs, and therefore not my total responsibility. This suits me fine.
    Even when I’m not leading the club and researching background etc, I still have had influence in the selection process. When an occasional “clunker” is chosen, that is amusing in its own right!
    As a leader I still get a charge out of posing a question that makes great sense to me, only to hear dead silence in response. As former full-time teachers, you and I both know that things will probably not go exactly as planned, nor should they. You get a feel for facilitation after a while, and you begin to pull from people the best they have to offer. This is pure delight!
    Although I am quite busy in retirement, Pat, I could find time to attend a meeting of your club now and then. Chances are that I’ve already read whichever book you’ve chosen. I keep detailed notes on the books that I have considered worthwhile. Sincerely, Lucky Girl