November 7, 2014
Scientifically it is stated that the need to seek and maintain interpersonal relationships is a basic need of all human beings. That is why the need to affiliate with others and be accepted by them is as basic to our psychological well-being as hunger and thirst are to our physical satisfaction.
Last night was Book Club; an evening where the basic needs of hunger, thirst and the maintenance of interpersonal relationships are simultaneously satisfied.
“Book Club” could generally be defined as; “using the guise of reading the same literature in order to allow disparate persons to convene for laughter, food, wine, conversation and gossip”. The literature in and of itself is not necessarily important – it could be The Cat In the Hat; the importance is meeting with bright, caring and enjoyable persons for a few hours to delight in a cleansing breath of conversation and connection.
My “book club” is composed of a group of women who may not necessarily ever have come together on this planet, but thoroughly support, enjoy and respect one another. It is a lot like being a sibling from my family of seven. We are all unique and would not necessarily ever interact were we not related; however, when we are together there is enough laughter, compassion and similar senses of humor in one house for the local riot police to get called by the neighbors and we generally all leave looking forward to the next joint venture of familial affiliation.
A similar pattern of diversity defines my book club ladies – women of remarkably dissimilar backgrounds uniting every six weeks to “discuss books.” Somewhat like my family members, I have yet to discover how I came to fit into this remarkable group of strong personalities – but I adore them all the same. Among the group there are two doctors, a former collegiate athlete, the national director of the largest women’s group in the nation, the head of a local senior health institute, a research scientist and… me.
Our book for this session was The Goldfinch, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Donna Tartt. While there was some heated dissent over whether or not this was Pulitzer Prize worthy literature, there was definite agreement that the book was LONG! Over the course of three and a half hours we dissected characters, read passages that particularly touched our hearts, decided there was too much Dickensian thematic, admitted to character crushes, looked at the picture of the author and decided she needed a makeover, discussed who was sexier Viggo Mortensen or Daniel Craig, and ruminated on why the hell Rene Zellweger went and redid her face. That particular tangent then led to our book club pixie sadly announcing that “we are past the stage of being cute.” Animated discussion ensued and the general consensus was, “We are all still dang cute and we do not need knives and prosthetics to change the fabulous faces and bodies we maturing into.”
Throughout the evening there was laughter (sometimes shrieks of it that my Usually Lovely Husband who was hiding upstairs later admitted raised the hair on his neck), personal admissions, supportive confirmation without judgment and a general euphoric feeling in my cozy living room that our psychological well-being factor was being satisfied. It was a night which refueled our tanks of emotional reserves to deal with the trials and tribulations which will undoubtedly arise before our next Book Club meeting. Until then I shall read our next book and sincerely wish that all the sad and restless people could find a “Book Club” to fulfill their interpersonal connection needs while remaining infinitely grateful that I have found mine.
PS – Sorry Gwen. I still am voting for Daniel Craig!