Friday, May 15, 2015

My YA Book Club, an origin story

Two years ago tonight was the first meeting of my Young Adult Book Club. I was inspired to start this group after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

In April 2013 I was feeling like I'd lost myself in motherhood. A couple days before my mother's birthday, I told my husband that I wanted to drive out to surprise her. I knew she didn't really have any plans, so I got up at 4 AM and drove the 9 hours to see her. I needed to get away from my life for a weekend. Sometimes you just need to see your mom. I went armed with The Happiness Project and a journal. I was on a mission to re-find myself and make my life happier.

One of the things Gretchen writes about in her book is her children's literature book club. That got me thinking. I love young adult fiction, as I have mentioned, so why not start a book club where we read only YA fiction. At the time I was in a book club with some coworkers, but the club didn't really have a theme. We rotated the book selection, and each member picked from their favorite genre. We often read non-fiction, classics, contemporary adult fiction, etc. I found that I rarely wanted to read the books that were selected.

A few days after returning from my trip, I mentioned my idea to my friend, Sarah. She was very excited about the idea. She'd been wanting to read more, and she also liked YA. Two days later I sent a Facebook message to my friend, Annie, asking if she was interested. She was. I posted about it on Facebook trying to attract additional members. A few people responded, but no one committed. We decided we would proceed with just 3 members. Why not?

We selected The Maze Runner for our first book. I think because one of us was already reading it at the time. I think it was Sarah, but I might be mis-remembering. Because both Sarah and Annie have cats (I'm allergic), and I have Christopher, we decided we'd have our meetings in a restaurant. We selected La Fuente for our first meeting.

The first meeting was nice. Sarah hadn't finished the book, so we didn't discuss it too much, but we did stay and talk for 2 hours.

During the first few months I tried to recruit other people, but now I've stopped trying. Our group is perfect the way it is. It's very intimate. We collectively choose the books, so we're never forced to read anything we really don't want to read. We choose a new restaurant for the next meeting whenever we meet, and in two years, we've only duplicated restaurants a handful of times.

We are a book club that actually reads the books, but our group is about so much more than that. As Gretchen Rubin says in her book, both men and women need close female friends to be happy. Our book club meetings are really just an excuse for much needed girl time.  And I love it!

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