Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Club

I think I've mentioned that I'm in a book club.  However, I've don't think I've really talked about it much, which is crazy because it's one my two favorite days of every month!  My other favorite day is my dinner club.  Mostly it's the same girls that go out for dinner that are in my book club.  There's one in book club who doesn't go to dinner and vice versa.  Anyway, I love my book club and dinner girls and it's time to pay homage to one of the most important groups of people in my life.  I love our time spent talking, eating, and even discussing books. :)  We will be celebrating our 10th anniversay next month as we had our first meeting in November 2002.  That also means that we've now read 120 books!  WOW!  It also means that we've eaten 120 desserts! :) 

Here's my girls...  Our group has changed over the years.  We started with 8 of us.  Since 2002, we have added a couple more, a few have stopped coming due to work and family matters. We also lost our dear Sherry to cancer 2 1/2 years ago.  This picture was taken in 2005:

And here we are last year at Christmas... There are 6 of us now.  Our group may be smaller, but it's still a great group of women who have been through thick and thin together.  We've been through in vitro, adoption, divorce, cancer,  and the loss of close family members through tragic accidents and illnesses.  We have also had our share of happy times, too!  We've welcomed 3 babies during our ten years, and 5 of us (including dinner girls, too!) will have our youngest children graduating from high school next spring.  We've laughed, we've cried, and even argued, but through all of it, we've remained great friends who will always be there for each other when we're needed. 

This is some of us at a fundraiser we hosted to raise money for our book club sister, Sherry, who was fighting cancer. 

We've thought about naming our group, but can never think of a good one, so we're just "Book Club."  If you're ever interested in starting a book club, but not sure how to go about it, just let me know.  I'd be happy to offer suggestions.  We have a pretty good sytem that works well for us.  We all take turns hosting book club at our house each month.  The previous month's hostess takes dessert to the next month's meeting.  Doing it this way really helps to divide up the work it takes to host a gathering.  No one has to get their house ready and make dessert at the same time.  If you are the hostess, you also get to choose what book the group reads.

When we started book club, one of the goals was to broaden our reading horizons.   We have read books from genres ranging from romance to horror/thriller to biography and everything in between.  Now, make no mistake that we are not an intellectual book discussion group.  Our goal is to read a book and discuss it, but a big part of our meetings are also talking. :)  We do not dissect each book and discuss it's themes, foreshadowing, protagonists, or any other of those literary words.  We talk about the plot, characters, what we loved and what we hated.  Sometimes we talk about the book for half an hour, sometimes 5 minutes.  It completely depends on the book and whether or not we just have other things on our minds that we need to talk about.  However, I will say that it is frustrating when you show up to discuss a book and half the group hasn't finished reading it! (You know who you are if you're reading this!)  Yes it drives me crazy, and they know it. :)

As I mentioned, we've read books across all genres.  Our first book was The Divine Secrets of the
Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  We sometimes read mainstream authors like James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult.  Jodi Picoult holds our record for the most titles we've read by any one author.  I think we've read 5 or 6 of her books.  We've read 3 Stephen King books.  Occasionally we'll read a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird or Pride and Prejudice.  Each December we read a Christmas themed book and all bring delicious appetizers and soups for dinner.  Once we read a book called 16 Pleasures and the author (who is a professor at our local college) came to discuss it with us.  We also took a field trip to see the stage production of Vagina Monologues after we read the book.  Yes, we've read Fifty Shades of Grey. :)  But we've also read lesser known titles such as Me and Emma and Last Days of Summer.  We have no rules for what the hostess can choose for a book.  It's completely her choice.  Sometimes we love it, sometimes we don't.  I think we can all honestly say that we've read books we would've never have picked up on our own.

So last month I just wanted to do something special for my book club girls (you didn't think I was skipping out on giving you a recipe did you???)  so I made these jars of fall snack mix:

You can see basically everything I added into the mix, but here's a list:

Honey Nut Cheerios
regular M&Ms in fall colors
peanut M&Ms in fall colors
candy corn
candy corn pumpkins
Cheez Its

I used one regular sized package of each of these items.  This makes a HUGE batch!  You either need one extra extra large bowl to mix it in, or you need to mix it in two batches, which is what I did.  I filled 8 of these Kerr canning jars.  Then I tied some rafia on top and there you go.  You could use any combination of snacks you might like in your mix such as raisins, nuts, or other cereals.  My family loved it and I think my book club girls did too. 

I hope everyone is lucky enough to have such a great group of women in their life! I don't know what I would do without my monthly book club gatherings!  I love you all! :)


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