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Monday, January 31, 2022

Reading Integration

Foremost among the gifts in my life in the post full-time work years has been the varying ways that book discussions have enriched my time. I'll take initial credit for getting the ball rolling via joining several book clubs in the early years. Some of the tributaries that flowed from my time in those clubs led me to several bookworm soulmates. I've met ad hoc with a select few of them for discussions.    

But then, serendipity, as opportunities for book discussions seem to open up in unexpected places. A distant friend and I - both of us newly familiar with ZOOM because of Covid - decided to use that technology for a discussion of The Great Bridge, David McCullough's account of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Our next virtual discussion will be about Hanya Yanigahara's magnum opus, A Little Life. 

More recently, the fourteen travelers my wife and I first bonded with in Alaska began a hybrid book discussion group. Our first two meetings were online (James McBride's The Good Lord Bird and Simon Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness), and our third took place live this past October when we reunited in Acadia National Park and discussed Kent Haruf's Our Souls at Night. That same group is now "discussing" The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes) by capturing our individual reactions into the book itself, which is being circulated via mail all over the country; the sixteen of us reside in seven different States. When the group re-unites this October for the sixth time, everyone's comments will be compiled into a document, distributed to all, discussion to follow. How cool is this? 

In the meanwhile, the "Pats-only" cl - i.e. not big enough to be a club and including only people named Pat - is now in its eighth year. The two of us most recently discussed Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind. And the club I started at my local library in January 2017 continues to thrive. Our last meeting centered on Future Home of the Living God (Louise Erdrich). I've got more reading riches to share but would like now to hear from you. What are some ways you integrate your love of reading into your life?      

6 comments:

  1. Pat, this is something I am so grateful that we share. You have introduced so many wonderful books to me over the years - right from the beginning of our relationship when you encouraged me to read Franny and Zooey, At Play In the Fields of the Lord, and authors John Barth, John Updike, and Upton Sinclair among many others. I depend on you as a continuing source of great books that don't waste my time. Most recently, I've loved finding Plainsong and the other Kent Haruf books, but there are so many more! Thanks for keeping all these book clubs in play...it brings so much richness to my life as a direct and indirect beneficiary. Hopefully, I've been able to bring some worthy authors and titles to your attention as well. Love that we love reading!

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    1. Thanks for the comprehensive comment, Lucy. I especially appreciate the walk down our early reading path. And you have indeed brought reading treasures to my life as well including John Irving, Elizabeth Gilbert, Michael Pollan to name a few. Desi

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  2. Hey Pat. Thank you for broadening our travel group with these wonderful book discussions. You have enriched my reading by introducing me to two wonderful authors, Simon Van Booy and Kent Haruf. I just urged my cousin and her husband to read Van Booy's book and am so pleased to tell you that they both loved it.

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    1. Hey Rogue Scholar friend; So, not only am I thrilled to see your first ever comment in bell-curve land but I'm seriously pumped that you enjoyed the Van Booy book enough to recommend it to others and they loved it! Thanks for the comment, your kind words about the discussions etc., and most of all, welcome to bell-curve land! Hope to see you here again some time.

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  3. From my previous comments you know that I am not the reader that you are. But I remain committed to correcting that. In fact my daughter has recently suggested a Daddy/Daughter Book Club and I'm all in. Of course, during a recent bout with a cold (thankfully it was just that) my daughter - she being an elementary school teacher, going for her Masters Degree on-line, and raising twin 5 year olds - read eight (yep - 8) books in 3 1/2 days. I'm not sure whether to be proud or envious - or both - lol. But a challenge has been made and ... We'll see how it goes.
    Be well,
    Bob

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    1. "Anonymous" Bob; A Daddy/Daughter book club! I love that! I may suggest it to my own daughter. Your daughter sounds like an energetic, ambitious, avid reader, i.e. someone I'd enjoy talking with. And eight books in 2 1/12 days is quite the reading achievement. I have a book recommendation for her that I'm reasonably sure she'd enjoy: "Tolstoy & the Purple Chair" by Nina Sankovitch, a memoir about a woman who reads a book a year for a full year as a tribute to her beloved recently deceased sister. Be sure to let me know if your daughter reads it and her reaction to it.

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