That is the name of my brand new book club, a club that combines three of my favorite things: female friendship, books and booze (in that order). One of the book club members came up with the name Margareaders (brilliant!), so one of our “club rules” is that we must have margaritas available for every meeting. And wine of course. As we all take our turn to host the meetings, it will be a big job to please such discerning margarita drinkers (Oops – I mean readers), but I’m sure we’ll all be up to the task.
Our group consists of twelve women. Each of us came to the first meeting knowing some people very well and others not at all. By the end of the meeting, it’s safe to say we knew each other a LOT better and looked forward to learning more. There’s nothing quite like lasagna, red wine and margaritas to relax the jaws.
Eventually we got around to discussing our February read – The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. The book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the sixties and tells the story of three very different women who find themselves – almost by accident – caught up in a plan to tell the stories of black women working as maids/nannies in the homes of white women. Two of the women are black maids themselves, and one is the white woman who wants to tell their stories and in so doing, create a different kind of future for herself along the way. The backdrop for this mostly intimate story is the growth of the civil rights movement under Medgar Evars and Martin Luther King, Jr.
We had a lively discussion of the book of course, but what I found even more interesting was how much we each brought our personal experience and background to the discussion. Our group ranged in upbringing from the original melting pot of New York, the Deep South, California, and sliced white bread middle America (that would be me). Listening to the breadth of personal stories we told – of one person’s mother who’d worked at San Quentin, a personal encounter with Louis Farrakhan (also me), a black man nervous to be seen speaking with one of us, the family reaction to one of the New Yorkers’ decision to marry a native of New Orleans, and so on – it occurred to me that perhaps we define diversity too narrowly.
Yes, we are twelve people of the same race, gender and even socioeconomic group (now). And yet… and yet – after our meeting I would be hard-pressed to say we lacked diversity. We all lamented the difficulty in teaching our children to respect, welcome and celebrate the differences between people while living in an area that is not very (racially) diverse. I left the discussion feeling optimistic about our ability to do just that. Every person is full of unique stories. When we share those stories and listen openly to the stories of others, we learn more about ourselves, others and the collective human experience. Every time we read, hear or experience something that challenges our thinking, we evolve as individuals.
So bring on the books and the wine! We say we want an evolution… We-ell ya know, we all want to change the land.*
P.S. In honor of my excitement about the book club, I’ll be giving away my copy of The Help. Please see the next post for details on how you can win.
* Yes I do know those aren’t the real words to that song. Artistic license.Book Club, Books, Friendship · Tags: Book Club, Books, Civil Rights Movement, Friendship, Jr., Louis Farrakhan, Margaritas, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evars, Mississippi, Wine