an ode to book and tea club.

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Happy Monday and happy April!

I hope that even if you live in the north, you’re beginning to shed layers and see signs of spring. The pollen is starting to ease up here and as you can see from the photo, the azaleas are bursting into bloom, which is one of my favorite things about this time of year (also: open windows, longer days, not having to remember jackets for four kids).

We’re headlong into year two of the Book and Tea Club that my mother-in-law, Linda, and I started last January. It was born out of a longtime dream of mine to start a book club, and the years of wisdom and experience Linda has gained being part of some really wonderful, inspiring book clubs.

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We meet on the last Saturday of every other month, and discuss an entire book at a meeting. We always have tea, of course. And everyone brings a tea treat to share (as you can see, we never suffer for lack of food). It’s been interesting to trace the ebb and flow of our group over the course of 15 months: we started with a bang with 20 or so ladies, dwindled down to about 6 some months, and now seem to have found our stride at around 10-12. To me, that’s a perfect amount for really great discussion.

Our Book and Tea Club is yet another example to me of how so many good things take time and patience. I enjoyed our group from day one. It was great last year. But I’d say this year it’s awesome. I look forward to the meeting for two months, try to save the current book as long as possible before our discussion so it will feel fresh, and take notes of things I want to chat about. And I’m not even the discussion leader!

It just took us all some time. To figure out our dynamic, to grow comfortable with one another. To draw in some new voices.

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My favorite two things about Book and Tea Club right now (besides the obvious: a tea party!!!) are that right before and right after our meeting everyone is busy chatting — that’s a sign we’re getting to know each other! And I love that discussion often veers from our wonderful leader, Jessica’s, questions and takes off in its own direction.

To me those are the signs of a successful book club.

For whatever reason, we have an intimidating number of teachers and former-teachers in our midst. They are smart, you guys! I love hearing about their diverse experiences, and their passion for learning is so contagious. I want to be like them.

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Okay, enough gushing, because I know you really just want to know what books we’re reading! That’s what I’d want to know!

Thus far, we read only novels.  Most of them are new-ish (“new classics?” is that a thing?) This year we voted as a group to read Southern authors. Everyone submitted ideas, and Linda and I nailed down the final list. So far, we’re loving it (I could seriously talk all day long about A Lesson Before Dying).

January, 2016 – Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns

April, 2016 (moved to after Easter) – A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines

May, 2016 – Walking Across Egypt, Clyde Edgerton

July, 2016 – Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

September, 2016 – The Water is Wide, Pat Conroy

November 2016 – Broken Shells, Deena Bouknight (local author who we hope to have join our discussion!)

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“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

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