Book Club Mom

Mom and I have always shared books. Our favorite thing to do when I come into town for a visit is to first head to our favorite restaurant for our traditional bowl of tomato macaroni soup with freshly baked rolls; then we head for the bookstore! Neither of us needs any more books, but you know how that goes.

At 87 years old, you think my Mom would be slowing down a bit, but not much, especially when it comes to books and reading! In 1997, while walking in the mall, she came upon a display about a new senior center just built in the area. Alongside the model of the new structure was a list of volunteers needed. “Book Club Leader” caught her eye, and she has filled that position for the last 10 years.

The new computer classes filled up pretty fast, but the book club membership list was a little slower to fill. It did fill, however, and she has had 14 devoted members (some new ones joined later and occasionally someone leaves) for those many years. This group has read and discussed a very diverse selection of books.

It’s a lot of work being a book club leader like Mom. The senior center keeps asking her to fill out a form on the number of hours she puts into this volunteer job, but how do you account for the constant reading of books to find something that would be great for the book group? And then, once she has chosen a book, she must check with the library to make sure they have enough copies. Then she re-reads the book, timing it so she finishes it again just before the book group meets. Some of the books they’ve chosen are real chunksters! I’ve seen her copy of a book to be discussed, and it’s marked with tons of those little post-it note tabs. I don’t think there’s a form big enough to show all the effort put into reading, re-reading, thinking about the book, preparing for the discussion, and then actually facilitating the meeting.

I sat in on one of their book discussions once when visiting her and found it to be a delightful experience. They had just read a book by Charles Lindbergh’s daughter (a favorite author of mine), and their discussion was lively! There was a wealth of experience, knowledge, and opinion in the group.

Mom calls herself “a selfish volunteer” because she is doing something she absolutely loves to do–read and share books. I just call her “amazing,” and consider myself the luckiest daughter in the world to have a mother that has shared her passion for books with me all my life.

Click here to see a list of books read by my Mom’s book group.

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8 thoughts on “Book Club Mom

  1. Hi Robin – Just delurking (finally) to say “wow”. That’s so neat that your mom has been leading this book club for 10 years. I took a quick peek at her book list and there are some good ones there. It is great to be able to share the love of reading.

  2. How wonderful! It’s not just about what your mum gets out of reading but how much she’s putting into it, too, and chiefly for the benefit of others. No wonder you’re proud of her, Robin.

  3. What a varied list your mom’s book club has read over the years! Some of my favorites are there as well as some good possibilities to add to my TBR list. What a great contribution your mom is making to the lives of others!

  4. Hi Iliana, Thanks for stopping by and reading about my mom. She’s inspires me! You can especially see her love of American history in her list of books.

    Karen, thanks so much for your kind words. I am very proud of her…she’s a very special lady.

    Jenclair, some of my favorites are on her list, too, and many that I haven’t gotten to yet! It’s so nice to have you stop by and check out her list.

    This post was a surprise for her and I know she’ll be thrilled with these comments. Thanks so much.

  5. Thank you Robin, for sharing with us this delightful story of your mother’s life. That kind of work is surely keeping her mind and heart young. I did not know that your fondness for reading was inherited!
    And talking about books, let me tell you that when you left Argentina in 1967, your copy of The Little Prince stayed with me. I got to know Saint Exupery through that English version. Then I went to the original French version and got to read it in Spanish in third place. It was my introduction to reading in different languages. See what an important contribution you made to my life?

  6. Silvia, I’m delighted with that memory and your lovely words! I’d forgotten that I left you with El Principito. I have a copy in Espanol, which a friend gave to me just after I returned home from Argentina. It’s one of the treasures on my bookshelf! And it’s nice to know that those two copies of that wonderful story are dear to both our hearts.

  7. I loved your Mom’s Book Club list! We do a retirees book club and I can show my boss, look what older people are reading. She is always worried about objectional books. I’m so thrilled to see Water for Elephants on the list; I read this and I want to do it as a discussion! We have to do paperbacks ‘cos of cost. I’m sure your Mom can relate. Thanks for pointing this out on the sidebar.

  8. Hi Maggie, Thanks for checking out my Mom’s book group list. I’ll have to update her July-December list soon! Anyway, she’ll be very pleased with your comments.

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