During the past year I’ve written several posts about camping. I’m not always out in the wilderness with Herb and Buddy. At home, I like to read and hang out with friends. Here I am with my Kindred Spirits Book Club.
Our book club celebrated its third anniversary this month. Some of the members, myself included, are retired teachers. We spent most of our careers teaching children to read. Now we have time to read for our own enjoyment. We’ve discovered that books are much more interesting and memorable if shared with friends. We chose our name from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. In the book, Anne referred to her closest friend, Diana, as a “kindred spirit.” Together, they shared similar interests.
Our group meets monthly for lunch, usually at one of the members homes. Before the book discussion, we chat about our personal lives. After the dishes are cleared away, we conduct our “business.” During the business meeting we make decisions about future books we plan to read, and set dates to meet. Our group is very accommodating of each other’s suggestions. A member will suggest a book title and author, then tell something about it. We bat the idea around a few minutes, and come to a consensus.
Unlike some book clubs I’ve heard about, we actually do read and discuss our book of the month. After all, teachers are very responsible regarding their homework. Whoever is leading the discussion drafts specific questions and emails them to the group a few days in advance of our meeting. We’re a serious book club.
I love hearing the members reaction to some of the books we’ve read. Here is a snippet of one discussion.
“Why do so many books seem to be about dysfunctional families?”
“Because if everything was hunky-dory you wouldn’t have a story.”
Over the past three years we’ve read thirty-one books. At our last meeting I asked the group to share their favorites.
Our number one book is A Land Remembered, by Patrick D. Smith…. The story of three generations of a pioneer family in Florida.
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah … Two sisters struggle to resist the German occupation of France during World War II.
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde … A burned out teacher turned foster parent travels the country in an RV.
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore… The true story of a friendship between a homeless man and an international art dealer.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers … Retells the biblical love story of Gomer and Hosea in the times of the California Gold Rush.
Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin … a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness.
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg … A comical novel of two women who gather their courage to learn to fly, each in their own way.
Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy ….Historical fiction based on true events of racial violence set in Florida.
The Giver by Louis Lowry … Young adult dystopian novel.
Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen … Two children make a daring escape from war-torn Guatamala.
As you can see we love fiction, and our favorite books are those which inspire. Many of these works feature admirable characters who overcome poverty, war, and racism. A good book is one that you want to read again. Even if you read it as a young adult, and pick it up later in life, you still learn something from it.
Life From Scratch is Sasha Martin’s memoir. The court declared the author’s mother unfit, and terminated her custody of her children. Sasha lived away from her mother for most of her teen years. Cooking provided a way for her to remember the family she lost. She includes recipes from her culinary journey around the world in this book. During the Christmas season our group met to share our own family recipes and memories associated with each dish.
If you enjoy reading inspirational books, and can recommend any titles or authors, leave a comment below.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.