Last night a few of the neighborhood women met at my house for book group. We have been meeting off and on for over 18 years. It started after I had a run in with Breast Cancer and needed to do things for fun and that were relaxing. So reading and chatting with the neighbors was perfect.
It has been a good 1/2 of year or more since we have gather and when we met no one was willing or in a place to agree on reading the same book. So we all read and just shared what we were reading. It was a good way to chat with neighbors and pick up new books to read. I still missed the deep discussion we might have when we had all read a similar text.
So about a month ago I sent out a call to see if they wanted to read Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon and meet at my house. They surprised me by all saying yes. We all began reading and I realized that Chabon loves words. Maybe he loves them a bit to much. It was a long book, a wordy book, a book that might be good to have a dictionary close by at times but a great story and powerful characters.
I was sure this group would not get it read – I was struggling to get it read and I picked the book. But they walked in fired for conversation having pushed themselves through all 450 some pages. We talked writing style (to wordy), we talked characters (powerful and we discussed who was our favorite), we talked about the history events that were woven into the plot (amazing).
Our conversation wondered to families and work but settled back to writers and voice. The importance of sharing your voice. The effects on ones health and well being when you feel you have no voice. We talked about who did not have a voice in the book and when in our own lives we felt voiceless. Several of us work on writing and talked about voice in our writing.
The evening ended with all of us understanding the book more, understanding our selves a bit better and our need to have a voice – in writing, in our work and with our families.
Powerful and an amazing night – I am in awe at what reading and discussing a good book can do.
As a teacher it made me think about the need for good books, teaching how to have good discussions and the importance of giving our students voice! Those three things mean life long learning. Isn’t that what teaching is about!
Yes to reading and book groups at any age!