My book club is small and relaxed. It’s just the way I like it. We’ve been getting together for over a year now and we all still find it enjoyable. I’ve had a hard time not feeling like a jerk when people ask to join. I’m not willing to change a thing, because it works as it is now. When it started I had a syllabus of books with reviews and we followed it for a few months before we found our groups flow. It has evolved in a way that allows one to read at their own pace. Some of us read slow and some us read fast. One of the members savors each page of a book so much, that sometimes she’ll spend a week on the last five to ten pages. Some of us read multiple books at the same time, while others can’t fathom reading that way. We each give each other “suggestions” of books we think would be awesome to read. We normally meet at our local wine and cheese shop. They have a large wooden table, ironically named Woody that we reserve. I usually show up with a pile of books to either share or to review with the group.
Last month I decided to mix it up a bit. A short half hour drive away is a wonderful book shop in Fearrington Farms. It’s called McIntyre’s Books. It’s an independent book store, too. My heart sings when it comes to supporting these places and this place deserves the support. They have regular author events at the store, which most of the time are free to the public. Of course, I recommend purchasing a book or two in thanks. I suggested to the group via email that we go to one of these events. Who knew that I would choose an author that two of the ladies already loved? I had not even researched the author, other than to read one of the reviews of her latest book.
Jeannette Walls is an American author. Her first book, The Glass Castle was on the New York Times Best seller list for five years. Once again, where have I been? I loaded the ladies up in my ride and we drove to McIntyre’s books. Since we were all meeting after work, we made it just in time as she began to speak. It was so packed that we were seated in a secondary room. Since I had not read her books yet, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Let me say, she did not disappoint. Of course I had no idea on what a harsh upbringing she had experienced. She was homeless at different points of her childhood and never had a real home growing up. My heart ached for her as she told her story, but not because she was asking for any sympathy. Quite the contrary. She embraces her childhood and gives it credit for her strength. My only quote from the night that I will take with me was, “I’ll never start a fight, but I will never back down either”. She was witty and strong. After meeting her I read her first book, The Glass Castle, in about two days. Knowing it was her truth was tough, but mostly it was enlightening. Truthfully, I’m glad that I had not read her books prior to meeting her. It was good to know that she had survived and excelled in her life. When life hands you lemons, Jeanette Walls made a tasty lemonade!