This was an eventful weekend. Or, shall I say, a weekend full of events? We had a house full of out of town guests. We attended the dedication of our new Synagogue building, theatre at the Mark Tapor Forum and my book club evening. All this in two days.
I belong to a book club that has been around for about 16 years. I’ve been a member for 14 of those years. I initially joined to broaden my reading experiences.
The vast majority of the members of this book club are physicians. Initially, I was one of only two non-physicians. Even today, there are only 3 or four non-physicians. Their busy practices mean they have limited free time to read. We meet every other month to give every one an opportunity to complete the book.
For me, that meant that I would have read at least 6 more novels by the time we met to discuss the chosen tome. I often re-read the novel to refresh my memory for the characters and the plot.
Over the years the format of the discussion groups has changed.
In the early days, we met at someone’s home. We still do. However, what began as a Saturday afternoon discussing a novel over cheese, crackers and wine, developed into an evening sit-down dinner.
What began as a discussion of a novel, changed to include wine tasting with vintages chosen based on the novel. A novel set in France guaranteed French wines. I had some difficulty picking a wine when we read “Little Dorrit.” I took Sherry.
About 5 years ago, someone had the brilliant to idea to select a movie for discussion in addition to the novel and wine tasting. The difficulty level increased significantly.
We were to read a novel, watch a selected movie that somehow related to the novel AND select a wine that had some connection to both the movie and the novel.
That poor novel was often left un-discussed after 14 members tasted bottles 14 wine. I am not a moviegoer. I do not have a palette for wine. Often, I did not see the selected film and I don’t enjoy wine tastings. I enjoy wine. I cannot taste the damned apricot or smell the soil of the Rhone Valley. I’ve been to the Rhone Valley: smells just like dirt.
I stopped participating in the book club. I continued to read the selections. I always welcome a suggestion for a novel or author I’ve not read. I continued to make suggestions for the next meeting. I just didn’t attend the discussions.
I missed my friends. I missed that bi-monthly event where we could all get together outside of work, let loose and have a good time. That was a revelation. This incredibly busy group of physicians scheduled one evening every other month just for this purpose.
The book was the catalyst for bringing everyone together. And isn’t that why I initially joined: to widen my experiences; to break out of my normal routine. I began attending again. I read the book and if we didn’t discuss it, that was OK. I was spending time with friends, friends I seldom see other than at the book discussions.
Oh! The book we read for Saturday’s discussion was “A Thing of Beauty” by Steve Martin. The play at the Mark Tabor was “Burn This.” I don’t know what movie we were supposed to watch and I have no idea what wines we drank…
I can’t wait to hear what the next reading selection will be! And, I’m bringing a wine totally unrelated to the novel just to see if anyone notice and mess with their minds. They’re physicians; it’s easy.
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And thank you for listening
Jerry L. Hanson