The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.
--Elizabeth Hardwick

Look around you and what do you see? Lots of people in a hurry, am I right? We’re in such a hurry to get places we don’t take the time to smell the flowers or even see them in the first place. It’s no wonder we don’t take the time to really communicate with one another anymore. Instead we talk at each other using various gadgets and gismos. You’ve seen it. Many people look like they have just come out of a Star Trek flick with all the head gear for cell phones. It seems so mechanical and very distracting when their ears start to light up. I can hardly talk to the person because I can’t stop looking at their blue blinking ear piece. I see you laughing, you’ve seen this and you know what I’m talking about.

Years ago Oprah hit a home run by getting millions of women together through Book Club! More recently Kathy L. Patrick founder of “The Pulpwood Queens” (Tiara-wearing, book-sharing group) has gone global with her reading group as well. Who’d have thought they would get this country reading again with such excitement and wearing Tiara’s? Once again women could have adventures through reading, develop friendships, experience community, and feel good about themselves because they went book club (yes, this is really happening all across the world).

In Kathy’s group (that meets in a beauty salon – I’m not kidding) is called “Beauty and the Book” all former book club rules are broken. Fun is experienced in a new way through book club. Women are giving themselves permission to set aside time for fun in their lives. You’ve heard it said “When mama is happy everyone is happy!” (I think there is some truth in that, don’t you?).

Technology has brought our world together and has been an amazing thing in modern times. As Oprah and Kathy L. Patrick have also found that the use of the internet has been a great host for book club. Through this technology everyone can have a sense of community and be connected in a book club right in their very homes. It’s not the same as being with everyone but it’s the next best thing.

On the flipside; when we turn our communication and many of our daily functions in life over to machines we lose out on human interaction. There’s a breakdown that is happening in our community, family and with our friends. A similar breakdown occurred when television became all the rage and our total attention was on a mechanism that amused us. Many people stopped reading for fun and entertainment. It was so much easier to watch a television program than read.

Real communication wasn’t being practiced. Many of us developed the stare as we sat and watched TV. In the early days of television you couldn’t record programs. You had to physically be there to watch anything. No one wanted to miss the next episode of their favorite shows. I know because I really tried hard to be there for all my favorite cartoons. I didn’t want to miss a thing. Reading for enjoyment was put on hold or in my case, never started in the first place.

It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered how exciting it was to read to my children. They excitedly got in my lap so we could read and snuggle at the same time. Something magical happened when we read like this. Incredible memories were being made as we went on exciting adventures while I read from these beautifully colored pages and acted out these fascinating stories. There was bonding, warmth, a connection being made on many levels as we read. I’ll take that over a good TV show any day!

Can you see why the book club experience is so special and exciting? Many of the same things that I described happening with my kids while reading; happens at our meetings as well. When we take the time to communicate our thoughts, feelings and ideas with others it makes everyone feel special, valuable, and loved. There is something about looking at someone in the face while they talk, hearing their ideas and laughing that you can’t get from text messaging, websites, TV or email. But in book club we connect with each other every month this way, we have a common experience through the book we’ve all read and a sense of community is developed.

Nora St.Laurent
Christian Fiction On-Line Columinst


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