Why Everyone Needs a Book Club

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I had the pleasure of hosting my bookclub this past week. Playing host to this group of women is not a role I take lightly and hence revel in the opportunity to plan, cook and dote on my friends when it’s my turn to host. Let me be very clear though that hosting is just one small obligation of our long standing and truly incredible ritual of gathering once a month or so to discuss a book.

Our book club has existed for over fifteen years, I’ve been a lucky member for the past ten and I can honestly say it is one of the most important commitments in my life. Each month we rotate through each others homes, the host providing food ranging from takeout pizza to the more elaborate spread and of course wine. Our shared meal is far from what draws us together – it’s our history and the connections to one another we have built over the years. As young professional women, all struggling to balance careers, relationships, family and friends we are committed to making time for each other every month. It is rare that I will let something come between me and book club these days because I know how rare this kind of consistent gathering is.

Collectively we have shared the triumphs of marriages, childbirths, new jobs along with the tragedies of losing parents, miscarriages, layoffs, relationship struggles and parenting woes. We serve as each others sounding board, support system, cheer leaders and reality check.  This isn’t to say that we don’t each have other friends who play these roles but there is something to be said about setting aside a time outside of work, home, and friends with the same group of women who wouldn’t necessarily find or make the time to gather each month.  Book club has become a safe space where we can be truly honest and open with each other sharing whatever is going on in our lives at the moment for the good and bad.  The underlying and unspoken rule is that whatever is said in book club stays in book club.

With the advent of social media I find more and more that we may think we’re keeping tabs on each other through Facebook and Instagram but that I crave and value these in person gatherings even more. You may be asking at this point, through all of our gossiping and wine drinking do we actually get around to discussing a book? Yes, in fact we do and more! I love having an excuse to read a book and being held loosely accountable to completing it each month. Not only do we discuss the book but our discussion almost always digresses into unanticipated larger societal issues referencing other must read news items from the past month. I leave each gathering feeling more informed about life and with the warmest, fullest heart (and stomach) imagineable. I am so grateful to have these brilliant women in my life and for the tradition that is and hopefully will continue for a long time to be book club.

My latest book club menu included:
(for brevity sake I’ve just included links to recipes instead of pasting recipes below)

For Starters: Pesto-Spinach Whipped Ricotta Dip served with fresh veggies and crostini

The Main Course: DIY Easy Homemade Chicken Ramen served with quick pickled radishes, soy marinated eggs, bean sprouts, dried seaweed, fresh basil and sautéed bok choy

Dessert: Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I loved this meal because so many of the components could be made the day before including the cookie dough, pickled radishes and eggs. The rest of the meal took less than an hour to prepare.

And for those readers out there our most recent favorite book club book picks have included The Great Believers, An American Marriage, The Female Persuasionand Lake SuccessWe’re currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing.

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