I have always been a reader. I have always had the ability to lose myself in a book and to become so engrossed that the world around me almost ceases to exist.
Despite my love of reading, I have never joined a book club as so many other readers do. I don't know why, really. Many seem more focused on idle chit-chat and gossip than discussing the book at hand and others seem more interested in reading books I am not interested in reading. So I've never joined.
Well, now, Madeleine is a reader. She too has the ability to lose herself in a book and become oblivious to the world around her.
I decided to create a mother/daughter book club for her that embodies all the characteristics of a book club I would like to be a member of. Tonight was our book club's first meeting. This evening, Madeleine and I carefully arranged vanilla meringues and chocolate meringues on one platter and a plate of scones on another platter. We then poured a gallon of Trader Joe's peach juice into a teapot and carefully set out four cups and saucers alongside the "tea" in preparation of the discussion of a decidedly British book (by myself I set out an array of wine glasses and a favorite Beaujolais). Four girls in total (six belong to the club, but two could not make it) arrived at our house tonight at 6:30 p.m. to talk over Matilda by Roald Dahl.
I don't know what I expected. I knew Madeleine loved the book. She raced through it in a matter of days and those days were filled with loud snorts and giggles. I knew the other girls had loved the book based on what I heard from the other moms. But loving a book does not always translate into being able to talk about a book. But it did tonight.
I was amazed-- amazed-- at the insightful thoughts these girls had. Matilda isn't incredibly layered, but there are some inferences to be made that I thought the girls might miss. Nope, they all were well aware of all the different characters' nuances, what made each unique, why the Wormwoods and the Trunchbull had to be so fantastically evil to make the book funny and why Matilda and Miss Honey related to each other.
All the girls took the job of discussing the book very seriously for about an hour, which was a lot longer than I thought we would get serious discussion out of them and during that hour I could see how much fun they were all having thinking about different scenes in the book and letting other peoples' thoughts about the book soak in.
I can't wait for our next book club night!