But four of my friends humored me this October when we got together at my place and formed what is now known as the Decades Book Club. The five of us span five decades, from twenties to sixties. We are all teachers, most of use are mothers and wives, some of us have cats, all of us live reflective inner lives.
As I told them on Friday, the Decades Book Club is the best thing to happen to me this year.
Here's what we've read, and our take on each.
Olive Kitteridge so much -- and we all did. We are, by nature, a group who loves character-driven literary novels like The Lonely Polygamist and A Prayer for Owen Meany.
We all liked The Burgess Boys. It was a great starting place, and it led to lots of fruitful discussion about family and sibling dynamics. No one we loved as much as old Olive, but certainly worth our time.
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls was our least favorite selection. Some of us are big fans of Sedaris, some not so much, but we all kind of felt that he jumped the shark on this collection a bit, exposing new depths of psychological distress and unresolved family issues. (Also he starts waaaay too many paragraphs with "The thing about..." -- "The thing about Hawaii..." "The great thing about sea turtles," "The thing about my unresolved obsessive-compulsive need to pick up trash on the Irish countryside...") His voice is just a bit too navel-gazing to be relatable. This was the only book that some members of the club (cough, ahem, guilty) did not finish.
Though I do really recommend "Loggerheads," if you happen to have a copy lying around.
Turns out, I really really do.
The Goldfinch, which, btw, all five of us finished in its entirety, is a tome, but it resulted in my favorite book discussion so far. And that discussion grew into a larger discussion about depression, self-medication, self-deception, and self-sabotage. And art. And philosophies for living and finding meaning.
Books are amazing.
This is the book out of the ones on my list that I would tell you without hesitation to pick up. I read it in a few days and lost myself entirely in its pages. A work of love and sadness. Read it.
I have always been a believer in the ways that books make us better. And I know myself to be so much more fulfilled when I can regularly lose myself to a book.
But as I've said before, reading, and as a result, thinking, can be hard to find time for.
I am beyond thankful for the incredible group of women who have allowed me to find time to think, to connect, to reflect, and most of all, to laugh and to feel so profoundly supported by our shared experience of living meaningfully in the frenzy of modern life.