Saturday, July 17, 2010

Reading group

Some years ago, in August 2005, to be exact, I had a free Friday to wander around a bit in St. Paul. I stopped in at the Merriam Park library just to browse when a poster in the lobby caught my eye.

It was an invitation to join a book group for persons 55-plus and announced the book currently being reviewed: "The Emperor of Ocean Park." This was Friday and they were meeting the very next Tuesday evening.

I jotted down the information, proceeded directly to Barnes & Noble to purchase the book, went home and read all weekend. I felt like I was back in school, starting a homework assignment the last day of vacation. Three days to read 300-plus pages.

Tuesday night came and I timidly walked into the group. Any reservations I had were immediately disspelled. The group was delightful, its members diverse, and stimulating.

Five years later, here we are. The group's founder is a member in absentia, as she moved to Washington DC. Two of us original members remain. We've changed locations and added new members along the way. We're not a closed group: anyone is welcome. If we're not able to make a discussion in person, we e-mail our comments. We rotate choosing a book and leading the discussion. It all works.

I think each member of our group hungers to learn more about the world, past and present. It's what keeps us together. In our reading, we've traveled through many centuries to many different countries.

Yesterday we reviewed the book, "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver. Our leader asked us to rank the book on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest. Though we don't often all agree, which is what makes our group even more interesting, this book achieved an almost unanimous 10. It is extremely well written and a very unique book. I highly recommend it to you.

I love to read. That's probably obvious. Historical novels are always my choice. Contemporary novels are okay if they are set in another culture.

No matter your preferred genre, reading expands your mind and experience like no other media. Celebrate