Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love -- with the book club

Tonight my friend Arlene from book club has made dinner reservations for 6 pm, followed by a night out at the Marin Civic Center for me and two more of our fellow book clubbers, Elizabeth and Merrill (she's new). Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert will be speaking to a sold out crowd. I'm so excited. Both authors are top-notch; I'm also honored to be invited by Arlene.

I've been in this book club for two and a half years, meeting monthly at my little Marin City library. I've often lovingly referred to my friends there as my 60-something (gal) pals -- although recently we were joined by a 40-something man, Stephen -- and these women have always inspired and intrigued me.

Arlene reads voraciously (five books a week? that might be a conservative estimate) and she travels once or twice a year to Egypt to soak up the culture there. She keeps her gray hair cut short and dyed red, and has bronze skin, different colored fingernails -- or flowered -- depending on the week's manicure, and likes shiny gold jewelry. Elizabeth (yes, I've mentioned Elizabeth before!) is my favorite librarian ever, a former lawyer, '60s war protester, general call-it-like-she-sees-it lady. She comes to book club fully armed with historical and biographical information for us. Barbara (not coming tonight) is a high school teacher, retiring this year, who was born and raised in Whatcom County -- Ferndale, to be exact. She's thin and wears these gorgeous fitted suits, leans over a little bit like she's cold, and speaks warmly with the voice of a long-time smoker. In retirement, she just might start writing -- I'm crossing my fingers on that one. There's also Joy, who arrives weekly in her motorized wheelchair from across the street, who's suffered from MS for years. She likes to talk about stories from her life that the books remind her of -- even if she hasn't finished the book -- and recounts her tales in this great Bronx accent.

That's the core group. Maybe I'll think of another person later. I'm getting a little sad thinking of saying goodbye to them in June (or whenever). I won't dwell on that right now, though. Instead, I'll show you what we've read since we started the club when I moved here.

2005
Nov - Wicked, Gregory McGuire
Dec - Moo, Jane Smiley

2006
Jan - Middlemarch, George Eliot
Feb - July's People, Nadine Gordimer
Mar - The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester
Apr - Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
May - Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton
June - In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
July - Walking the Bible, Bruce Feiler
Aug - Attack, Yasmina Khadra
Sept - My Story As Told By Water, David James Duncan
Oct - Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Llosa Vargas
Nov - Will in the World, Stephen Greenblatt
Dec - The News from Paraguay, Lily Tuck

2007
Jan - The Orientalist, Tom Reiss
Feb - Talk, Talk, T.C. Boyle
Mar - Daughter of Fortune, Isabelle Allende
Apr - Sex, Time, and Power, Leonard Shlain
May - The Afghan Campaign, Stephen Pressfield
June - Rain or Shine, Cyra McFadden
July - The Forest Lover, Susan Vreeland
Aug - The Untouchable, John Banville
Sept - Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
Oct - The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Nov - Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
Dec - The Enormous Room - e.e. cummings

2008
Jan - The Moon By Whale Light, Diane Ackerman
Feb - Crossing To Safety, Wallace Stegner
Mar - The Dissident, Nell Freudenberger

(upcoming)
Apr - A Hatred for Tulips, Richard Lourie
May - The Glass Castle, Jeannette Wells
June - Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan



(Note to self: Take book club group picture.)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Talk about your eve out, Anjie? I'm a detail girl.
All I can say about your list is "WOW!"
Lovingly,
JJJ

Shelby said...

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors; get me a signed book!!

Anonymous said...

I copied and pasted your list to a word document. (I did read "Walking th Bible" and loved it). I am going to see if I can get started on one or two...I have never been in a book club; don't know why. I love to read!
Mom

Anonymous said...

Wonder if you can keep up with your bookclub you've loved so dearly via a 'conference call bookclub eve' ? That could be wonderful. Any possibility? Any interest? An idea?
Get that pic.
Lovingly,
JJJ