From Bond Girl to Book Worm

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So I've taken down the Bond Girl wallpaper of my blog (it's so easy to "redecorate" a blog) now that my Bond mania has subsided and I'm pulled by a constant force of nature...

The most fascinating aspect of my life which receives the most attention and, therefore, I get the most questions is about (drum roll please…) my book club. It’s curious to me why my participation in a book club would elicit so much interest. Often the questions are the same from all inquirers and usually in the same order. How did you get involved? How long have you been a member of the book club? What types of books do you read? Which are your favorites? I now open the closet door to reveal and share this fabric of my life tucked away, not hidden, three- fourths down the closet row.

Yes, for years now, I have been a member of a book club that my friend Lisa and I started. Lisa Schmick (now Lisa Evans) used to live across the street and we became friends through our dogs. In other words we met outside while walking our dogs. As two, single, independent, smart women who dote on their daughters (our dogs), Lisa and I met two to three times a week to get the girls together for playtime (our dogs Mon Cherie and Samantha). While the girls ran up and down the indoor condo hallway for their exercise (and yes they were well behaved and did not bark), Lisa and I often discussed an array of topics—usually work, dating fiascos, plans for travel, investments and books. When we learned we each read the same book “The DaVinci Code” the idea of starting a book club was conceived. Lisa contacted several coworkers from her past jobs—all women. We decided to keep it a women’s book club. In our first meeting, there were about seven to eight women. Then one member moved, one could not spare the time between work and her husband, and others faded way. The original three members to this day are Lisa, Leslie and me. Then coincidentally we each introduced one, smart, avid reader of books to the book club. Lisa brought Adrienne, Leslie introduced Dorothy Ann (DA for short), and our last member to join is my neighbor Sandra. Since Sandra’s induction, we have remained a solid six members for the past three years.

When a member of the original group wanted to invite a man, she was nearly beheaded. Later, once our club was bound like a book with six chapters, and someone wanted to bring a seventh member, the majority voiced “no” over emails. We were more than a club—we were now friends that shared more than literary discussions. We shared sensitive details of our personal lives. A new person would be an intruder.

So who are these six independent, smart, successful women? Well you all know me by now. Then there’s Lisa, a financial controller for a boutique luxury cruise line. Adrienne who also works with Lisa on marketing for the cruise line. Then my neighbor Sandra, who works in the medical field; Leslie, a Human Resources specialist, and Dorothy Ann (DA), who’s worked with CIGNA healthcare for eons of years. All of us are single with the exception of Lisa, who broke the cycle and became a new bride this year. Her and Bob, a firefighter, live happily with two dogs in the Gables.

Do we have a name? Not formally. Recently when I ran the idea by the group an unexpected silence fell across Leslie’s living room. I turned to Adrienne who was all for the idea earlier in the day but caved in when Leslie and DA objected. “No if we have a name then we’ll fall apart,” said DA. Interesting theory. Later I thought to myself, we’re not a rock band that always breaks up after reaching celebrity stardom nor do we have plans of becoming famous (well actually I did envision us as guests on local news shows given our groups dynamic, and potpourri of book selections; I saw us as the Beardstown ladies of the book club. The Beardstown ladies are a group of women who started a financial investment club and made millions.) Secondly, we’re not a marriage where half of all matrimonies end up in divorce. We’re a group of friends that have one thing in common—our passion for reading. Recently in an email, I announced to the group that soon I would blog about the club and call it “The Sexy Potato Peel Club”. This was my name of endearment for a bond of women, a group that I looked forward to meeting every couple of months to discuss the trials and tribulations of the main character of the book and then turn to our own. After dissecting the challenges faced by the protagonist, our personal struggles often seemed trivial. Reading is not only stimulating and enriches the mind; it is also therapeutic for the mind and soul.

Yes there’s a story behind the name, but like any good book, the history and meaning of the name will reveal itself in chapters to come along with the unfolding of characters that make up the sexy potato peels and the range of books that shaped our reading and our book club.

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