Dear Book Club members,
I love book clubs. Not only as a writer, but also as a reader. I’ve been a member of one for years, and I’d like to tell you about us.
We weren’t always a book club. In the beginning, young and full of zest, we met to pour our energies into women’s issues. But in time—struggling with efforts to keep individuality and equal rights in our own homes and workplaces—we put our bras back on (at least some of us did. I’ll get to that part in a minute) and let our monthly meetings lull into wine and cheese parties. Our gatherings became our place of refuge where we let down our hair, shared stories, and remembered who we were outside of the roles of wives, mothers, and employees.
Our placid stretch didn’t last long, however, and after about a couple of years of sitting with our feet up, we slid back into the boisterous group we’d once been. Our meetings turned into noisy, opinionated discussions about politics, current events, and the interesting books we’d read. That’s when we decided to turn our group into a book club. I still remember the night we decided we needed a name.
There we sat in our beloved senior member’s kitchen—two of the women in their pjs (we lived in a community of 399, with a one-woman-run post office and a credit union that was open two mornings a week—who was going to see them?), our hair disheveled or scraped back into rubber bands, my new bra slung over the back of my chair because the underwire was killing me—volleying potential names back and forth. After a time, one member scanned the group and started laughing. “I’ve got it! The Brantwood Literary Society!” We doubled over with laughter at such a sophisticated name for such an unpretentious group, then raised our coffee cups and water glasses and drank to our new title. To this day, we still break out in giggles every time we refer to ourselves.
Over the years, we have shared our thoughts, our feelings, our books, our opinions—our very lives—with each other. And just as our meetings changed over the years, so have we. One of us became a widow. One became a working artist. One married. Two divorced. Two were diagnosed with cancer; one survived, one did not. And one became an author. Through it all, we’ve remained what we’ve always been: a lively, loving, full-of-laughter group of devoted friends who faithfully meet once a month, even though the drive is much longer for some of us now.
And how did my book club react when one of their own members became a published author? They’re proud of me and love my books, but to them, I’ll always be “Sandy,” their friend who had it rough, then got it good. The one who loves chocolate, and who will always search for (and probably never find) a comfortable bra.
Thank you so much for “visiting” my book club, and for welcoming me into yours. Whether I visit in person, over the phone for an “Author Chat” (see below), or in spirit, I am honored to be a part of your meetings and your lives.
May you continue to celebrate your appreciation for books, and for each other.
ATTENTION BOOK CLUBS:
What’s the next best thing to having Sandra visit your book club in person? Having her visit via the telephone for an Author Chat! If you are a book club of six or more members, reside in the U.S.A., and have access to an intercom phone, please contact Sandra through this site and provide her with two meeting date options and she’ll do her best to work you into her schedule. Author Chats last for one hour, are free, and best of all, fun!