Mamas, have you heard?
The Pensacola Mom Collective is starting a book club, and it’s open to all of YOU! This was very exciting news for me because, despite my long-standing affinity for books, I have never actually been a card-carrying member of a book club. To be clear, I have always considered myself to be a book club kind of person. I mean, I love books (essential), parties with friends (who doesn’t?), cocktails (I hear these are generally part of the package, yes?), canapés … Okay, maybe this is just my imaginary version of how book clubs work.
Those of you with more experience will have to fill me in before we start meeting in person for these kinds of things again.
Strangely enough, though, when PMC Book Club members were invited to introduce themselves on the Book Club Facebook Page by stating which book they were currently reading, I found myself unsure of how to answer. You see, there is a stack of books sitting on my nightstand right now. Among them are two devotionals of which I’ve read only a handful of entries. It kind of makes you question my devotion to them, huh? My bible is in that stack – the one I pledged to read in a year. I’m two-thirds of the way into it, which would be impressive if I hadn’t started nearly three years ago. Right next to it there’s a parenting book with an expletive in the title (because #balance). That one is fantastic, though you wouldn’t know it by how long it has taken up nightstand real estate. I really do love to read, but things like laundry and dishes always seem to get in the way.
“So what am I reading?” I asked myself.
Well, to start, the last thing I read was an extensive chapter of the Florida Statutes. I read pleadings and case law all day long at work. I read Pensacola Mom Collective articles to see what this amazing group of women have to say each day. And I read my favorite cookbooks on the regular because they bring me joy and help me nourish my family.
And then it hit me: Wait a minute! I am in a book club!
My very exclusive book club has been meeting just before bedtime nearly every night for almost ten years. We started out small with titles like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Trains Go and slowly graduated to more sophisticated stories like Blueberries for Sal and Goldilocks and Just the One Bear. There are members of my book club who have insisted, much to my chagrin, on returning to the same masterful works night after night, sometimes for months on end. Among those choices have been John, Paul, George & Ben; I’m a Truck Driver; and the classic compilation, Marvel Superhero Storybook Collection.
As our membership has aged, we’ve begun to take turns doing the reading and asking the questions, generally easing into those roles with the help of dynamic duos like Elephant & Piggie or Duck & Goose. Sometimes our members get a little too busy with their own reading commitments now, preferring to hide under their covers alone devouring their new favorite series or some other literary delicacy. But that’s okay. Attendance is totally voluntary, and they always return for a future meeting.
The past few years I consider to be a golden age for our book club.
We are now in a place where nearly everything is fair game. And because I am the self-proclaimed leader of this book club, I often pull from the shelves favorites from my own childhood to read aloud to my children … oops! I mean … book club members.
As a child, there weren’t enough books in the library to satiate my appetite. I always figured that someday I would be able to hand over many of my favorites to my children for them to read on their own as I had done. As it turns out, though, actually re-reading those books to my children has been a gift to me as well. What a special kind of pleasure it has been to reacquaint myself with Laura Ingalls, Matilda Wormwood, Henry Huggins, Meg Murry, and Harry Potter, like introducing old friends to new ones.
As a bonus, my book club has allowed my children and me to read, for the first time together, books I never made it to in childhood, meeting incredible personalities like Hugo Cabret, Dr. Doolittle, Mary Poppins, and Auggie Pullman. I have been so pleasantly surprised by how well my otherwise fidgety children are able to listen to and love these lengthy books with minimal illustrations at ages even as young as four. What fun we’ve had at our book club!
So, as it turns out, I have been attending book club meetings for ages.
Consequentially, I’ve also been reading far more books than I had realized. To answer the Book Club question from the Facebook introductions, right now my book club and I are hanging on every word of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
My book club may not have wine or adult conversation, and its selected works may differ a bit from what I hope to read with the Pensacola Mom Collective, but someday its membership will move on.
When that happens, I know that I will think back fondly on our cozy meetings, grateful for the time spent sharing special stories with some very special book club members.
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