I started my first book club in Houston in 1987 as a young mother of a one year old and a three year old. I refused to become like women I knew who would regretfully say, "I haven't read a book since I had children."
The next ten years found me reading books and gathering monthly with a delightful group of friends. We moved to the Seattle area in mid-1997.
Within a few months, I launched another book club in 1998. We celebrated a landmark year, twenty-five years together, in Austin this past weekend. Twelve of us gathered, but we missed many who have been part of our group over the years. Five of the twelve who gathered were part of the founding group from twenty-five years ago. If you've ever been a part of this group, you were probably mentioned at our gathering. We love to stay connected with those who have moved away and usually someone in the group has stayed in touch.
We celebrated twenty years in Victoria, Canada; twenty-five years in Austin, Texas; and we have all kinds of ideas for our thirty year event - Prince Edward Island, a cruise, a European jaunt! But we've learned over the years that it isn't the destination that counts, it's the time together.
What did our celebration include?
Late night conversations, laughter, two lovely breakfasts provided by superb cooks, a visit to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Rudy's BBQ and warm cookies at Mallory's home, a river cruise, walks together, Austin murals, dinner at Guero's Taco Bar, a sharing of our favorite book from the past year, a morning at the Capitol and the Texas Book Festival, Jeni's ice cream, and a late lunch at Licha's Cantina before it was off to the airport and a return to our regular lives.
It was less than 48 hours of joyful friendship time, but the bliss we share as bookish friends remains. Even though quite a few of us have moved away, we still join the monthly book club gatherings on Zoom whenever we can. There's something unique about friends who bond over books!