Tag Archives: book club

Deb’s 2017, by the numbers…

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Another trip around the sun, and seven trips since I moved to North Carolina.  It seems impossible, and the years have flown.

So, by the numbers, this is my story for 2017, and not in chronological order:

Number of weeks spent in Wisconsin with my Remley family…. six.

Number of visits to long-time, dear friends, here in North Carolina…three.

Number of talks with all sisters…too many to count.

Number of pizza nights at my NC brother’s…also too many to count.

Number of overseas trips made by me…one.

Number of countries visited on above trip…four.

Number of blessings gained from above trip…still counting.

Number of visitors to my Winston-Salem home, including parents, Atlanta brother and family, former principal and friend, Australian “nephew,” Lake Sister and two mutual friends, my two WI  sisters, niece, grand-nephew, Arizona BFF and her spouse…a bunch.

Number of meaningful connections with Arizona family, former students and their parents, teaching friends, and more…lots.

Number of Flat Stanleys to travel across country and hang out…one.

Number of books read and discussed with Book Club and others…not sure.

Number of dinners with neighbors…same.Number of Canasta games played…probably eight.

Number of GOOD Canasta hands played…one.

Number of opportunities to serve others…numerous times daily.

Number of prayers requested, prayers answered, thanks given…countless. 

I wish all of you the infinite blessings of this Christmas season and the same in the New Year to come.  And so, Amen.

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On Book Clubs…

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I have a wonderful book club now, and I’ve been a member of three other book clubs previously.  The best one is now, and the worst one is the one I joined right after I moved here. 

The funniest one lasted one afternoon, and was a conversation about books read in which none of us could remember the books’ titles, the authors, and the plots.  I wrote a blog on that one called “The Bad Memory Book Club.”  You can go back and read that for a laugh, if you want.

The worst one was a group of people who met at the public library.  Everyone read random books, and then just sort of reported on the book each had read.  The group of people was very nice, and we all got a variety of titles of which we might want to read in the future, but there was no unity, friendship, or refreshments (i.e. wine).

The reason my best book club is the one I am in now, is that…uh…I am in it now.  I loved the retired teachers’ book club that I left back in Arizona.  We’d all taught together for many years.  We had a history and a present.  I am still on their emailing list, and some of them read this blog.  That book club is the prototype for my current one.  Books are chosen for the entire year, assigned a month, a host, and a date, and there you go.

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My current book club formed from my neighbor gatherings.  One of the women said, “Let’s have a Book Club!”  If she’s said, “Let’s put on a show, ” we might’ve done that, too, but thank God, it was a book club.  So, we morphed from monthly dinners to monthly book discussions.  Two members moved away, and we absorbed two.  We are a diverse group…ages 40’s to 70’s…married, widowed, and divorced.  All of us live, except one, in the same square mile…well, really less than a square mile.  Some still work, most of us are retired.  All of us are physically and mentally active and compassionate.  All of us practice our own particular crafts, of sorts, in our own way.  Pretty much, all of us enjoy a glass of wine.

We all have a lot to say about the books!  Oh, the books…that is the journey, rather than the destination.

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The Summer of Books…and Southern Writers

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When my life fell apart nearly four years ago, I lost my ability to concentrate.  I was always a voracious reader.  My husband used to say I would read anything, even the toilet paper wrapper.  He was right.  I did read everything in sight.  My eyes were drawn to words.  Imagine my dismay when I could not read a full sentence and comprehend.

Through these last years, I have read.  I have even read a book or two, every now and then.  Mostly my reading has been the newspaper, Facebook posts, articles in Redbook and O Magazines, and the tabloid headlines in the grocery store check out lines.  I tried to join a book club at the library, but reading a book a month was exhausting.  I compared that with my two-book-club-a-month life in Arizona, and thought I might be done. 

Fast forward, and… I have my mojo back!  I have read at least fourteen books this summer.  The “at least” are those I remember.  It began in the spring, after I heard her speak locally, I read Jill McCorkle’s book Life After Life, and then when I was in Wisconsin my reading picked up, and has not wavered.  I read the two Heaven books, Proof of, and Is for Real, Middlesex, which was the book Barbra Streisand’s character was reading to her son in the movie, Guilt Trip.  I read a great book by Jeffery Archer, of which I cannot remember the name, but was about the guy who was thought to be the first to climb Mr. Everest, before Sir Edmund Hilary.  I read a few of the Sweet Potato Queens books by Jill Connor Browne, which are a hoot.  I read Southern Fried Divorce by Jill’s sister, Judy Connor, also funny and touching.  I read a V.I. Warshawski book, and Jeannette Walls’ most recent novel. 

Then I got on a Southern writer kick, and I have read several by Clyde Edgerton, who is a fabulous author, a Mary Kay Andrews book, and Fannie Flagg’s latest, The All-Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion.  I love me some Fannie Flagg.  My current read is by Adriana Trigiani.  I have read all her other books, and I love that she was a college roommate of one of my friends here in Winston. 

There are a lot of really good books out there, and Southern writers are amongst the best of authors.  I am smitten.  I can’t afford to buy the books, even from Amazon.com, these days, but we have a fabulous public library, and if I am patient, I can get pretty much any book I want to read.  We have Edward McKay’s here and in Greensboro.  There, many desirable used books are available. 

So, this summer, I have laughed until I cried, just plain cried, and loved every word I have read.   As paraphrased from a Barnes and Nobles tote…when I have any money I buy books, and if I have any left, I buy food.  It’s nice to be back.

The Bad Memory Book Club…

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Let me tell you about the first meeting of the Bad Memory Book Club.  It consists of five members, all between the ages of 45 and 70 something, but one of us slept through the entire book discussion, so it was only four active members.  All of the final four read regularly.  We pretty much read everything from Bill Maher’s New Rules to Alexander McCall Smith’s #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Our discussion went something like this:

Member:   What have you been reading?

Other Member:   Those books Third Member gave me.

Third Member:   One of them came from you, Member.  You know…the one with the girl in the red dress holding her shoes on the cover.

Member:   What was the story about?

Other Member:   About some women who did things.  It has every vice know to mankind in it.

Fourth Member:    Did you mark the good parts?

Third Member to Member:   You liked it.

Member:   Can I see the book?  Oh, yes.  This was a good story.

Fourth Member:    Mom, would you return this book to South High School?  I took it out when I was a sophomore.  The librarian was busy, so I didn’t bother to check it out.

Other Member:    Did you like it?

Fourth Member:    Yeah, I think so.

Member:    I read a good book by Anna Quinlan about a guy who tries to raise an abandoned baby.  I forget the title, but it was really good. 

Third Member:  Oh, it looks like Member #5 is awake.

Fourth Member:  This was a great discussion.  We ought to do it again.

Member #5:  Did I fall asleep?

All this with a lot of laughs at ourselves, and without benefit of any alcoholic beverage or wine, whatsoever!  I can’t wait till the next meeting!  Is reading great, or what?