Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Groups

My original Book Group lasted 25 years. Can you believe that? We finally fell apart as some of us moved and some of us decided eating and chatting was more fun than talking about books. But a new group quickly rose from those embers and is still going strong.

I was asked to edit the Under the Covers column for Skirt! Magazine a few years ago and have almost never lacked friends, family, friends of friends and complete strangers willing and eager to tell me about their Book Groups.

Although the Book Groups are not on the Skirt! website, there are lots of other reasons to visit the site. Essays, especially. I mostly love the essays and have written a couple for the magazine. One of my favorite pieces was about the time my friend Sandra and I had lunch with Andy Warhol. True story. The lunch was arranged by a friend of my friend's. Southerners are like that. The essay started out about that lunch and ended up being about my friend. Essays can be like that.

But back to Book Groups. How strongly women feel about theirs. The friendships they make and the books they read. The food they eat and the gossip. I've discovered that women will travel back to previous addresses to stay in touch with their group. They move and start a new group, unable to bear the thought of not having that connection. Age doesn't seem to be a common denominator. The groups I hear from are multi-generational. Reading books together is a powerful way to make a connection.

Two submissions actually came from a grandmother and her granddaughter. The grandmother was almost 80 and in a group of retirees that didn't read most of the books but loved hearing about them from a proprietor of an independent bookstore. Her granddaughter works in publishing and lives around books all day. She and her friend make up a Book Group, of sorts, consisting of just the two of them. They meet over drinks and discuss what they are reading.

And isn't that enough? A friend, a glass of wine and a good book?