I am returning to work in two weeks time after having spent the past 5 1/2 months caring for a newborn and my 3-year-old son. While it has been blissful, and I found myself reading far more than I would have thought possible, I have been missing my book group. I know they are in good hands–my dear colleague Linda has been with them this entire time. But what bothers me is missing the continuity, the arc the leads from one book to the other.
I have tried, to some degree, to read along with them. They read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy. They read Jessica Abel’s La Perdida and Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones.
And while I read some of these books, I missed out on the discussions. I missed them and I missed them. I have missed that sense of engagement, that sense of surprise that comes with each monthly meeting. Someone will always come forward with a unique interpretation, a stunning or even puzzling conclusion that will get us talking.
While I have done some reading along with my group during my hiatus, I have not had the opportunity to talk about it. Talking and listening is what book groups are all about. And continuity also has so much to do with it. How one book leads to another–how some books speak to one another, echo or build upon themes, while others hang separately like clothes on hangers.
Linda told me that the book that followed close on the heels of Omnivore’s Dilemma, Judith Jones’ The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, worked well to further discussions on the role of food in our daily lives (even though the books are otherwise dissimilar).
So I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and diving back into the current of reading and discussion. And another perk–I get to share it all again here, too!