A few years ago, a friend retired from her job teaching ESL and she decided to organize a book club. She invited a few friends who were also ESL teachers and some friends whose husbands were faculty members at the university, as were hers and mine. Neither group knew members of the other group, so in order for us to get to know each other a little, she invited us to her house for a simple supper before the meeting.The first book she chose was Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, with 480 pages. Some of us had already read it so had to read it again, or at least browse through it, to refresh our minds enough to discuss it. Others, still working, found a 480 page book a bit onerous, since we all wanted to do our regular reading in addition. The next several books chosen were around the 300 page mark and everyone was happy about that. Pretty soon it became accepted that the book chosen was to be a maximum of 300 pages. A non-member friend started calling us the Short Book Club and the name stuck with us.
It's not as difficult as it sounds, you know. There are an incredible number of books of this size and we have no difficulty coming up with suggestions that fit this criterion. In addition, each year we try to include a couple of non fiction books in our choices. We still meet for supper beforehand, at our convenor's house, although I host one meeting a year, because I feel guilty that the convenor always cooks supper and hosts at her house.
Most of us are grandmothers but we have one young member who, during this time, has produced two children and brought each of them to book club for the first year of their lives. We don't know why she comes to spend the evening with the old ladies but we love her and she seems to have fun with us. She has the distinction of being the only one of the 12 of us who has never missed a meeting, even for giving birth.
One of the highlights of the meeting, before we begin the discussion, is the sharing of any books of interest we have read in the past month. This is an opportunity for us find out about new books and new authors and we all enjoy contributing to this section as well as listening.
So tonight is the February meeting of the Short Book Club and the book is one I've already mentioned recently in this blog, Sky Burial by Xinran. I look forward to hearing what the others thought of it as I found the story interesting but the book rather dull on the whole. I'm also wondering what we will choose to read for next time.