Book Club Without the Book

When I was younger I was in a book club. I was the only member. We read the entire Goosebumps Series, the Boxcar Children and the Babysitters Club.

   

I never really liked discussing books with other people. I found the experience of reading a book and the way that each story made you feel to be a very personal thing. Even to this day, I still don’t love sitting around and debating which character is my favorite or what the author might have been implying when they wrote a particular passage. People debate for hours over whether or not Dumbledore from Harry Potter is gay, or if Edward or Jacob should end up with Bella from Twilight, or who is the most admirable character in Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart, John Galt, Francisco d’Anconia or Hank Rearden.

I joined a book club back in 2007. I went to the events for the food, wine and to chat with my friends. And while I read the books and certainly had opinions on them, I never felt like standing in front of the group and defending my perspective. Needless to say, my attendance in the book club wasn’t very good and I ended up dropping out after a year.

So when my friend, Erica, asked me to join her “dinner club”, I was immediately intrigued. What she wants to do is take the best of what book clubs have to offer (food, wine and good company) and remove the whole reading part. Genius! I knew there was a reason I liked this girl.

So while I certainly enjoy reading, I definitely think of it as an individual sport as opposed to the team sport that is eating, sipping wine and gossiping. So glad that I have friends who agree. Cheers to dinner club and all of the good memories that are bound to come out of it!

 

Twilight Stalker

When I was younger I had a HUGE crush on Johnathan Taylor Thomas (you know, Randy from Home Improvement and the voice of Simba in the Lion King). I would talk my mom into buying me “Teen Beat” and other neon colored magazines so that I could cut out pictures and cover my walls with JTT’s face. It was definitely creepy, but thankfully I grew out of that phase. Unfortunately, some 28 year olds are still very much in the “celebrity stalker” phase – and it VERY creepy.

One of my best friends, Molly Ward, is a HUGE Twilight fan. She rivals many tweens in her knowledge of the books and her love of Edward. After seeing the new Twilight movie, Eclipse, her away message stated “Team Edward!” Here is the conversation that followed (remember, Molly is not ME! That is my friend, AKA Wardo):

 me:  ewwwwww. I am on team Jacob!
 Molly:  well have you read the fourth book? bec if so, you’ll know why
 me:  I have read all of them
 Molly:  well … (Wardo goes on to explain her scientific reasoning for why she is on Team Edward, which I won’t put because it gives away part of the book)
 me:  I still like him better (ps I love how seriously you take these books)
 Molly:  Also, I think Bella and Jacob have an amazing dynamic and she would be able to stay human and see her fam and everything…and she would be w/ her best friend.  BUT, she and Edward are like magnets that can’t be kept apart.  They are just drawn to each other and meant to be together
but that doesn’t mean you can’t like Jacob more..just means Edward is the right one for Bella 
me:  Wardo, you know they aren’t real, right?
Molly:  hmmmm, that’s a tricky one
me:  haha
Molly:  well I refer to Edward as my boyfriend on a daily basis, so he’s real in my books. 
Molly: My roommate, Minna, just went to Forks on her way south from Seattle…check out the facebook pics…she tagged me in all of them. Bought me a ton of twilight stuff.  I am SOOOO excited!

So after more Twilight analysis, Wardo ends the conversation with this profound statement.

Molly:  but I will admit, I have always been a mega uber Edward fan, but after seeing the movie last night, I started to like Jacob a lot more.  And anyway, you like Jacob more, bec that’s like you…you fell in love w/ your best friend and are marrying him. So he’s basically your Edward and Jacob rolled into one.

I am so happy that Wardo was able to turn my 9 year relationship with Matt, and our pending wedding, into a Twilight analogy. Now, if I start to question my decision to marry Matt, I can look to this explanation and it will all make sense! I knew there was a good reason I asked her to be in my wedding.

Book Club

As a child I was always under the impression that I was a bad reader. Not only was I slow, but I enjoyed reading books that were “young.” As a result, I often found myself choosing other activities over reading: doing art projects, riding bikes outside and cleaning my room. These were activities that I liked and ones that I believed I was good at. It wasn’t until I reached 5th grade that I realized I was a very good reader. I was just living in the same household as someone who was a prodigy reader, my sister.

Abby is an amazing reader. Not only does she read books at a mind-blowing pace, but she also started reading very advanced books at an early age. She read the entire Nancy Drew series before she hit 3rd grade. She finished over 100 of the Baby Sitters Club Books by 4th grade. And she blew through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by 5th grade. Very quickly, she moved from the “young adult” genre to reading the same books as my mother. While I was working my way through the Goosebumps collection, my sister was reading Mary Higgins Clark novels. On one trip to visit my grandparents, Abby finished all of the books she brought with her for the trip by the second day, so she decided to pull something off of my grandparents’ shelves.  After Abby read more than 100 pages of The Clan of Cave Bear my mother caught on to Abby’s book choice and quickly ended it.  To this day, I still think of that book as “too mature” for me and steer clear of it when I browse the isles.

 

Abby was never without a book and when she was reading you couldn’t pull her away from the stories found within the bound pages of these books. She would get lost in the stories of Billy Coleman and his dogs, Jo March and her sisters, and Anne of Green Gables was one of her most kindred spirits. Trying to entice her in a game of Candy Land or Monopoly became an impossible task if there were unread books around.

Thankfully, I was able to realize that my reading abilities were strong as well. I found friendship with the Box Car Children and the Hardy Boys. I cried alongside Jess Aarons when his best friend Leslie Burke died after slipping off the Bridge that lead to Teribethia. I fought, alongside Annemarie Johansen, against the Nazis to save her best friend in Number the Stars. And I got into trouble with Ramona Quimby and Pippi Longstocking.

    

I have been forced to read more mature books as I’ve grown up; however I am happy to say that I have read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, all 7 Harry Potter Books, and the entire Twilight saga.

Matt has a very different sense of style when it comes to prefered literature than I do. While I will read a Sophie Kinsella novel (author of the Shopaholic series), Matt’s literary preference is anything that has to do with finance. Our bookshelves at home are lined with biographies of Warren Buffet and “thrilling” tales of the stock market’s past ups and downs. Last year he decided to branch out (only slightly) and read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. While it took him months and months to complete this novel, he raved about the stories of Dagny Taggart and Rearden Metal. Eventually he finished the book and convinced me that this was something I had to read.

Reluctantly I put down my “beach books” and picked up the 1,100+ pages of Atlas Shrugged. I lugged the book, which weight close to 10 pounds, back and forth to work.  I started reading the book at a good pace, but slowly lost interest. The story of extreme government control didn’t hold my interest and the fascination of Dagny, the only female character in the novel, wasn’t as appealing to me as it had been to Matt. It was a struggle to continue to read, what I thought was an unrealistic, extreme version of governing, when I knew there were countless other books I would rather be reading.

I plugged along,  knowing that I had promised Matt I would finish this novel. Thankfully, last night at 12:45am, after months and months of reading, I finally closed the pages on Dagny, Hank, Francisco and John Galt for the last time. I have come to two conclusions after reading this novel: 1. I really want a bracelet made out of the blueish green Rearden metal and 2. Matt owes me, big time.

So while I am happy that I finally finished this book, and can move on to more interesting book, I feel as though I lost precious reading time. Oh well, who is John Galt anyway?