Friday, August 13, 2010

My Two Bookclubs (Part 1)

I now belong to two book clubs, which is ironic, since I tell friends who bring up the idea of a book club that I don’t have time to be in a book club. This is true, but when I actually receive the official invite, I find that I’m just a girl who can’t say no.

My first book club is comprised mostly of women in their forties who’ve had children later in life. I’m the only member without kids or a matched set of silverware. Due to the busy-ness of everyone’s schedules, we meet only once every two months. My invite to this book club came from my friend K---, who is so energetic that spending time with her simultaneously inspires and drains me. At the end of each book club evening, we exchange vows to see each other in a “few weeks,” only to have the next two months pass like a movie-montage. It’s understandable. We live on different sides of town, she runs a home business, raises her five year-old son, fundraises for his school, is learning German, training for a 3-day bike ride to support the Arthritis Foundation and researching home swaps online for her family’s next vacation and I’m busy with grad school and…stuff.

Book Club #1 meets on Monday nights. We rotate houses, and each of us brings a dish themed to match the book. For our last meeting we read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about Kingsolver’s family’s experience eating only local meat and produce for one year. I read half of the book, and managed to pick up some veggies at Whole Foods in honor of our meeting. Kendall read the entire book, researched how to join a CSA, and shopped the local farmer’s market for ingredients to make the strawberry and rhubarb pie from the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website .

“But,” K-- reported as she set two homemade pies on the kitchen counter at R--’s house, “no one had rhubarb, so I asked the woman for something from the same family. She gave me kale.”


“So, it’s actually a strawberry and kale pie,” she said, unconcerned, not noticing the glances the rest of us exchanged when we heard this.

And I’m glad she didn’t, because an hour later all cynics were completely shown up. Strawberry-kale pie is delicious. Apparently even the bitterness of kale can be disguised by a few cups of sugar and a pound of strawberries.

The book and all conceivable tangents were discussed, food was eaten, wine was drunk, and as the evening waned, it was time to discuss our next book. L-- put forth that she would like to learn more about Golda Meir, and everyone else nodded and murmured that that sounded good. I nodded too, but secretly I resisted, maybe because I still had another five hundred-page tome to read for class, and maybe because—okay, I’ll say it—I don’t really know who Golda Meir is. I was prepared to go along with the plan, though, until it became apparent that there was no specific book attached to the broader idea.

“Doesn’t she have an autobiography?” asked C---.

“I think so, or maybe I heard… wasn’t there a biography that’s supposed to be good?”

I saw my opening. “Or,” I tossed out, oh-so casually, “Since it’s summer, we could catch up on our pop-culture and read Twilight.

One moment of stunned silence.

Followed by thirty seconds of overlapping disclaimers, and Twilight emerged victorious, with the Golda Meir biography (or autobiography) on deck for autumn. I high-tailed it out of there before anyone could rethink this choice.

On the drive home I fantasized about adding the formerly unwieldy but healthy kale into future deserts. Red-velvet-kale cake. Blueberry-kale cobbler

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