I took on 2018 - borrowing an idea from a friend - to ADD to this year rather than eliminate. And while some people I know are struggling to avoid the McDonald's drive thru, I'm working hard to re-introduce literature into my life. Yes, books. My mother often reminds me "what a good reader I used to be" (as if I lost the ability), in a way mothers so lovingly do. But she's right. Adulthood has gotten in the way of evenings and weekends spent leisurely powering through the latest teen novel series, the Harry Potter books or the reading list assigned in English class. By the time I've put in my 8+ hour workday, tried to make it to spin class, made dinner and had my daily dose of Young and Restless, I'll admit I opt for some Instagram stories rather than my novel that I seem to read two pages of - 25 times - because I can't focus or fall asleep.
NOT THIS YEAR.
Books! We have it easy - they are so accessible. You can get audio books, read on your kindle, Amazon Prime order it to your door next day or borrow from your local library - SO MANY OPTIONS. Side bar, did you know that you can rent instruments at the library? I mean, you could make an afternoon of getting your free library card, picking up an array of books and the cello that you've always wanted to play. The ultimate impulse shopping that forces you to return your impromptu 'purchase' or risk the late fees and the library cop 'Bookman' to come after you (Seinfeld fans, anyone?).
So now you've got the books and, possibly your next musical instrument beside your bed, lets take it one step further. BOOK CLUB (aka) ACCOUNTABILITY. Much like the panic of being called on in school and not knowing the answer, the same applies for being part of a book club. I strongly feel this should be the club of choice this year. You're not only going to expand your literature pallet, have more to discuss besides the weather, Kim Kardashian's baby's name or if the only stories you're into are a 10-second blurb about your friend's need for a bang trim. Not to mention the forced social component of getting together with your pals to drink wine and discuss that month's chapters over a charcuterie plate are a major added bonus.
Full disclosure, I have not started book club yet but what better way to hold myself accountable than to write a blog about it - so friends, expect your invite shortly! I've already started my new daily ritual of reading with The Alchemist, a book that I was assigned to read in Grade 11 and I'm half way through and I'm loving it. Such a classic and I appreciate that books can mean different things and lessons to you at different stages of your life. High school Lauren may have not picked up all the intricacies of the boy's story, I may just need to re-do my book report.
I've put together 5 'tips' to get started with your own book club but I'd love to hear any feedback from people who've been in one; what worked, what didn't?
1. Know your audience when picking the book: be mindful of everyone's taste, the history buff and sci-fi enthusiast may not be on the same page - that being said, get people outside their comfort zone.
2. Keep it intimate - I'm thinking 5-10 people will offer a good mix of opinions and insights, and my living room can't fit many more.
3. Make the reading time realistic, one book every month? Two months?
4. Potluck! Keep it cheap and cheerful and rotate hosting and everyone bring an appy or wine.
5. Be patient. If the first book/club meeting falls flat - try again! It may be the book and not the club.
I hope my New Year's "resolution" has inspired you to incorporate more books in your life... I'm excited! I'm thinking the classic Great Gatsby next - would love some book recommendations too, let me know your favourites in the comments below!
Happy reading, all!
All photos by the ever so talented @thehappyjess