Friday, April 17, 2015

# 186 Book Clubbers Rule

“What a blessing it is to love books.” 

Book clubs.  I could change Ms. von Arnim's quote to saying "what a blessing" to share books with others.  I am in two book clubs with women who love to read...and talk... and share their views on books and life.  The discussions are full of wit and wisdom and lots and lots of laughter. I LOVE these gatherings.

Despite the care given to selecting a new title sometimes we admit when we don't particularly care for a book or an author but reading it stretches our imaginations and broadens our perspective.  Case in point--the last book club read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan. It was not a book many of us might have picked up off the shelf but reading it made us appreciate the war efforts of the men and women during that time period.  We were able to discuss racism, sexism, propaganda, the war and its secrets, patriotism and a whole slew of topics regarding the book.  The discussion was lengthy even with the admission that it wasn't our favorite book for various reasons but we all agreed it is one that is important to read.

Which led me in a round about way to questioning the beginnings of book clubs.  A little internet research found one answer.

From Written by Nathan Heller
"Although the exact origins of American book-clubbing are arguable—talking about texts in private is as old as history itself—the modern domestic book group comes most directly from a push for women's intellectual autonomy. Beginning in the mid-18th century in England, motivated women of means and leisure began hosting salons for each other at home, inviting (male) luminaries of the day over to serve as keynote guests. These salon-goers came to be called "bluestockings," supposedly after one popular guest's signature garment; by 1863, across the pond, The New American Cyclopaedia was using the term as a catchall descriptor for "pedantic or ridiculously literary ladies." The first modern-style reading groups emerged out of this "ridiculously" ambitious culture of self-education, taking form as refuges for women who wanted to get ahead and cultivate their minds outside an educational system to which they had no proper access."

So there you have it.  As popular as they are today, book clubbers have been sharing books, wine and yummy desserts for more years than we have been around.  Oprah has nothing on the "motivated women" of the 18th century and thank goodness women now have "proper access" to an educational system.  So raise your book to cheer on all the clubs out there and may they continue to inspire and whet our appetite for fine wines and finer reading.  

Thanks for reading # 186 of 7777.

No comments:

Post a Comment