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Why am I in two book clubs?

When I was 16, my first job was in our local public library. It was about a half-mile bike ride from my parent’s house and the hours were flexible. I think my hourly wage was $1.60. (Yes, that was the hourly wage back in 1971.)

I’ve always had a love of books and reading, but with my work and family demands over the years, the only things I got to read were trade journals and magazines. I really missed reading for fun.

So, one Friday night I was at my temple and I was chatting with my friend Gayle. For some reason she got my attention when she started talking about the book she was reading for her book club. I asked: “How do you choose the books? How often do you meet? Who’s in the club?” I learned that her club was made up of about a dozen women from my synagogue and they met once a month.

Thankfully, they let me join, and it’s been one of my best experiences ever.

Since we meet once a month, I am “forced” to read a book every four weeks. (Thank goodness for long plane flights!) I’ve read books that I never would have read – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I’ve read books that I just couldn’t get into – “The Book Thief.” And I’ve read books that are now on my favorites list – “Not Me” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

And, thanks to the book club, I have a new group of friends ranging in age from 38 to 88! Our monthly discussions are as diverse as our ages, and surprisingly, we talk about sex (Yes, 88-year-olds still talk about that!), secrets and our dreams.

With my travel schedule, you’d think one book club would be enough. Well, my good friend Betsy and her daughter Rachael are in a mother-daughter book club and they invited me and my 16-year-old daughter Sophia to join. I thought it would be a great way to spend quality time with my daughter in a non-threatening social environment. The girls choose the books and we meet every two months for dinner and discussion.

Well, I am here to say that it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. OK – I will admit that the girls don’t always read the books (too much homework and poor planning). But the conversations between the mothers and daughters are incredible. In the 12 months since we’ve joined, we’ve shared stories of our first marriages, battles with cancer, our faith, drugs at school and more. It is a safe environment for all topics.

I’m so glad I made time to join this group. My only regret is that I didn’t know about the book club when they started it seven years ago when the girls were 10.

If you have children, I would seriously recommend you consider joining or starting a book club. It can create a common platform for sharing, which will come in handy as your kids get older.

And, be prepared for your child to tell you that they are NOT interested. Sophia was not thrilled with the idea and really didn’t want us to join, but I told her we would go once and try it out. She so enjoyed the girls in the group and the social aspect of it that she is now quite excited to participate and plan our meetings.

So, go find a book club to join! And happy reading!

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