We could revolutionize education if we asked every person connected with the education of children, "Read any good books lately?"--Susan Ohanian

Through the book club experience we connect with each other every month, we have a common experience through the book we’ve all read and a sense of community is developed.

Community is what I found when I went to my first book club meeting. I had never gone to a book club before and didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to go but at the same time I was so intimidated by the whole idea. Would I connect with someone there? Did I take enough notes on the book to be able to share? How many people would be there? All these questions were running around in my mind as I tried to read the book selection for that month (it took forever to read that book – you can see why!)

The day finally came for my first book club meeting. I showed up at the coffee house where the meeting was being held. I looked around. I didn’t know what the leader looked like. ( I didn’t think to call and ask – oh , by the way what do you look like?) “Think! Think!” (I told myself)

Ok, I spy with my little eye what? I scanned the room and spied a bunch of ladies sitting down at a large rectangle table. Each of them was holding the book I had just read. Jackpot!! This must be them. I slowly walked up to the group and introduced myself. Immediately, the leader went out of her way to make me feel welcome. She encouraged me to sign up for the door prize and fill out a name tag like the others did. Then she helped me find a seat in the group. Already I was settling in. Boy was I surprised when I realized I was the only one in that group with a notebook. I sure had the wrong idea of what a book club meeting was all about. I was ready for a reading class not a book club meeting. That changed everything for me. I was developing an exciting new concept of book club. I was definitely attending again next month.

These ladies in book club were about having fun and discussing a book they read. I was surprised when I discovered some members didn’t even read the book. Their mission was to discover good books to read – that’s why they came. If they liked the discussion and the concept of the book they would then go and read it. I got a kick out of that. These were normal ladies, not English majors ready to point out all the things I didn’t see in the book or should have seen in the book. They were not out to critique my notes or what I said. This group simply wanted to talk about our common experience in the book we just read and have fun doing that, nothing more.

Before the night was over I had made friends and everyone welcomed me to come back next month. I walked out of there with a skip in my walk because I felt connected – finally. After a year of living in GA not knowing a soul I felt great to join a lively group of women and discuss a book. For the first time in many years I felt understood, valued and connected. I shared with this group and the girls listened. It was magic!

It’s funny something as simple as people reading the same book and then coming together once a month to have a book discussion could have such an impact on our lives and our community. But it does.

We eat, talk, laugh and share our hearts. I see healing starting to take place in hearts of the ladies from the hurts of this life as they could relate to the character in the story we just read. The book club experience is just another instrument used to encourage, love, heal and work in people’s lives to have that human connection. Finding Hope in Fiction; there is nothing like it.

Ready for Book Club anyone???

Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

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