How are you keeping your book club alive?

I’ve always wanted to start a book club. Seems like a simple thing to do really, but like everything else, it got put on the back-burner as children and work and life were considered higher priority (by who I’m not sure).

February this year, at the high demand from the wonderful women in the tiny desert mining town of Roxby Downs, I started my first book club.

Our first meeting on the last Sunday of February was fun and eventful and just an all round nice afternoon of wine and conversations unrelated to our “higher priorities”.

Then March came around, as it does, and with it a new book and a new group of members excited to attend their first or second Fly In My Wine book club. The event invitation went out and the numbers of “going” were getting higher and higher until they were stopped in their tracks, by the C word (yeah you know the one).

We held off cancelling the event.

We started listing ways that the meeting could go ahead:

  • No hugging or cheek smooches on arrival (a curtsy or wave only)
  • No delicious food platter provided but instead bring your own un-shareable snack (nothing too tasty that might tempt others to want to have a sneaky try)
  • Sit further apart instead of our usual shoulder-to-shoulder lady huddle

But before we knew it, it was out of our hands. We were disappointed of course, but acknowledged our circumstances with understanding and wine. It was time for a new list.

In entered the virtual book club.

I was surprised at how many members still wanted the show to go on. But of course they did. These wonderful woman rely on things like book club to keep them social, sane even. The books were still getting read or thrown across the room, and the discussions were still waiting to be had.

And have, we did.

Women logged on to the Zoom meeting from their wardrobes, bedrooms, kitchen tables and floor. Some nursed their babies. Some mothers were being past secret post-it notes from under desks by half naked children. Others were hiding in closets and waiting to be found (hoping not to be) by their toddlers. Some of us, managed to stay uninterrupted. But we did it.

The conversation started with the book of the month; All my puny sorrows.  We ventured down the path of its sensitive subject matter and what our personal take was on the events that happened throughout. The group jumped in and out of audio and visual as we swerved into different topics outside of the book such as other favourite reads, birthdays in isolation and the general but oh so important “how are you?”

That’s what happens at book club.

A book and its topics are used to stimulate conversations outside of our usual scope. From there, we start to open up and show the other sides of ourselves outside of the mum, wife, worker role; the other human parts that make us the beautiful, intelligent, creative, curious, funny and fierce women that we are.

It felt so great to laugh and to be distracted for two whole hours from the world around us.

Pandemic or no, books aren’t going anywhere, and neither are book clubs.

How are you keeping your book club alive?

T x

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