Today I’m grateful to have guest blogger Tara Bergman share about the dynamic impact being a part of a book club has had on her life. A transplant from Pennsylvania, Tara moved to Seattle in 1998 with her husband and they and their two sons enjoy life in the greater Seattle area. Tara is a regular contributor to World Moms Blog. This past year Tara and her book club members celebrated their 10th year of meeting together.
A little over 10 years ago, I was enjoying lunch with a friend with whom I used to work. We were very different personalities but always got on splendidly and shared a common love of reading. We also shared an outgoing, entrepreneurial vibe. After lunch as we were parting on the street, my friend said, “I was thinking about a book club,” to which I responded, “I’ll set up a meeting.”
That’s just what we did. We emailed friends inviting anyone interested to come to my house and have a discussion about forming a book club. Around 20 women showed up. I was floored! The number one thing everyone said they wanted was to get together with other women to have fun but challenge their minds. Once we got the scheduling in place (2nd Sunday evening of the month), several people declined due to logistics. The gals lived all over the area, from Seattle to Tacoma to the Eastside, and not everyone was up for the driving.
[Read Becky’s post: “The 4 Reasons Why I Highly Recommend Starting or Joining a Neighborhood Book Club”]
When I scheduled our first meeting at my house we ended up with a smaller number of total participants but they were all very committed. I can’t remember the exact count, but one member came with her 3-day-old son because she was THAT on board! We decided we would take turns meeting at each other’s homes, and everyone could offer book suggestions that we would schedule months in advance so people knew what was coming. A member could bring a few books and ask the group to vote on which to read, or a member could bring one and say, “This is what I picked for my turn.” It could be fiction or non-fiction, any genre (which we have truly covered over the last 10 years). And we never made it a rule that you had to finish the book to attend the meeting.
Reading, Recreation, Relationship
So much has happened since that first meeting 10 years ago! Overall, we have the same core group of members that were there from the beginning. Some members have left (including my friend with whom I formed the club who moved out of the state), and some new members have come on board. We currently have 10 women on the roster who live as far apart as Tacoma to Bellingham.
While not everyone can make every meeting, many do. We talk about the books some, and we talk about our lives some. Over a decade of getting together, the women in this group have traveled some diverse terrain. Our personal stories encompass just about anything you could imagine, and it’s been wonderful to have a consistent group to come back to with whom we can be ourselves.
We have even vacationed together. For several years we did annual summer mom-and-kid trips to the coast. We had 18 kids in a rental once!
Is it perfect? Do we discuss the books in depth each time? Do we all agree on everything? Do we live the same way? Parent the same way? Show support the same way? Hell no! But I look at it like family. Family isn’t always smooth sailing, but they are your own, and you are one of them. That belonging means something.
Friends of my friends…
I feel a special attachment to the women in this group. Two gals were my former bosses (one from back in college!), and another is a former co-worker. Another gal is my teammate on the soccer pitch. One gal is my neighbor and chief supporter with the day to day nitty-gritty of mom life. Others were friends of my friends whom I quickly grew to love and admire.
I remember how excited I was to plan my wedding reception because I viewed it as the one giant party I could throw and invite all the people that meant something to me in the various stages of my life, even if they weren’t all connected themselves. This book club also feels a bit like that for me. I feel like I get to sit each month with a group of women that I care for individually who may not all be connected with each other outside of that meeting but are connected each month through a discussion of books.
And friendships aside, at the end of the day, I am a big book nerd and excessive gabber, so being in a book club just makes sense.
You can find Tara’s most recent contribution to World Moms Blog by clicking here.