Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Book Club Is Better Than Yours

"It’s 20 inches from side to side!"

Just one of the many fantastic quotes uttered from my book club last night. I might be a little bit in love with them. Honestly, it is this group and my group of friends that keep me sane (as much as possible) and grounded here in Sioux Falls.

I started the book club, officially known as Books, Beer, and Bitchin’ Camaraderie (BBBC) because…well, because I needed to. It seems that after university finding intellectual stimulation can be a bear. While Sioux Falls has many fine qualities, creative and intellectual stimulation is in limited supply. The lack of those things was taking a toll on me, thus I decided to do something about it. I created an event on facebook with the initial invitation reading, “Tired of the lack of books, beer, and bitchin’ camaraderie! Me too!” (It should be noted that the “bitchin’” portion of the title is in reference to “cool,” not for “come to my house and bitch about your life”) Apparently, others did in fact feel the same and thus the BBBC was born. And it has taken off and going even better than I had hoped or imagined. We met for the first time three weeks ago at my house, where witty banter and creative intellect reigned supreme. (It also inspired me to start watching Dr. Who.) We decided the first book we would read would be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Most of us had read it before, but we decided it would be a good first book to get people talking and get comfortable with one another. It proved to do that swimmingly. Lee’s novel lent itself to a lively, diverse, and all out enrapturing conversation ranging from language as culture (particularly the “n-word”) to sexuality and dating to school board elections to identifying ourselves with particular characters. It was interesting to see the varied lenses through which we all inevitably read the book. I naturally gravitated toward the religious tones. One of us is Native American and serves on the Diversity Council and she naturally gravitated toward the ethnic minority themes. Still others read from a feminist point of view, themes of justice, and the pure literary genius of the book. Of course these were just the beginnings of the thoughts, ideas, and conversations that took place outside on a warm June evening.
If my BBBC friends are anything like me, there were more ideas and realizations running through our heads that we either chose to keep to ourselves or didn’t get a chance to share. (We have a tendency to talk a lot and the evolution of conversation occurs quite rapidly.)

This is the beauty of literature. We all come to it with our own lives shaping the way in which we read the same words. We then share our thoughts, our hearts, and inevitably our lives with one another. Ideas flourish. Relationships are made and strengthened. Community is built. Lives are enlightened and enriched.

To you, my fellow BBBC members, I am immensely grateful. You add life to my life.

To others, if you would like to join us, shoot me an email! We would love to have you. Your life will be enriched, I guarantee. Pick up a copy of Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg, as that’s what we’re reading for next time, grab a bottle or two of your favorite brew, and come join in the conversation. (And seeing as how it's by Simon Pegg, I propose a viewing of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead following discussion.)

Oh, and if you’re wondering, it was the pizza a few of us ordered around midnight turned out to be a right giant. (We decided we needed snacks as we watched the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird after all the discussion) As we burst out laughing when we saw the beast, the pizza guy proudly boasted that “it’s 20 inches from side to side!” every good book store has a cat, we've adopted the neighborhood cat who straggles into my yard from time to time as the BBBC mascot. We named him Vinny, short for Vincent, due to his red hair and missing ear. I think you'll find him adorable.

Vinny the Kitty

It's 20 inches from side to side!

"What the f@*k are we going to do with all this pizza?!"

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