A book club of two

Every time I read someone’s book club post, I find myself yearning to be in a book club.

And guess what? My wish has been fulfilled! Well, sort of. Maybe a quarter fulfilled?

Here’s what happened: I was browsing around on Flipboard and came across this article, “Forget ‘Grey Divorce': Here’s How to Make Love Last“. I’d never heard of the term “Grey Divorce” before, but apparently increasing divorce rates among older people are the new trend.

I was intrigued by the “how to make love last” part of the article. And one of the things recommended was really quite simple: share in an activity your partner enjoys.

Ward and I went out for a Valentine’s Day dinner (but on Sunday, after the mad rush of “sorry, we have no reservations for Valentine’s Day” had died down) and before dinner started I handed him my phone and asked him to read the article. He did, and agreed with me it was a good idea, to share in an activity your partner enjoys.

We looked at each other and realized right away what each of our “activities” were. With Ward, it’s music. And me? Books, of course!

When Ward was a kid, he read a lot. But unlike me, he read mostly non-fiction. And then when he got older, he grew out of the habit of reading. So now he’s been getting a taste of fiction.

Since we went out for dinner on Sunday, he’s read Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library (definitely not the book for him). I’m very impressed that he kept going after reading a book he didn’t really enjoy (on the other hand, The Strange Library  – which I did enjoy – is really just a novella).

He started reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman next, and he likes what he’s read so far, but since we were both reading it at the same time (only one book between the two of us – and no, sharing a book isn’t at all like sharing a blanket!) he decided to read the next book on my list: Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders.

Five children on the western front

Five Children on the Western Front recently won the Costa Award. It’s inspired by the classic E. Nesbit story of Five Children and It, which was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. In Five Children on the Western Front, the Psammead comes back ten years later to find the older children are involved in the First World War. “Before this last adventure ends, all will be changed, and the two younger children will have seen the Great War from every possible viewpoint – factory-workers, soldiers and sailors, nurses and ambulance drivers, and the people left at home, and the war’s impact will be felt right at the heart of their family.”

Doesn’t it sound so good?

I’m looking forward to this read. Ward started it yesterday, and he spent this afternoon reading it. I suspect he would still be reading it now, only he had a ticket to see Don Giovanni. He says he’s really liking it (the book, I mean, not the opera.) When I first asked him about it, he said it reminded him of Narnia.

One thing I’ve discovered about him. He reads FAST, as fast as I do! Which is a good sign, since we’re now in a book club of two.

I haven’t suggested this to him yet, but it seems to me our book club of two would get off to a great start if we held our meetings at restaurants. Dinner out! Doesn’t that sound just lovely?

Mind you, our next few dinner dates are already spoken for. When we went out for dinner on Sunday, we decided to go through these 36 questions that lead to love. They’re meant for new relationships but we figured they might be handy for rejuvenating a long-term relationship. And we were right! It was the best dinner out we’d had in a while, and we learned things about each other we’d never known before. We only got through six questions (in two hours!) so we have a lot more questions to go.

As a friend of mine said, the questions are ones you’d think you should already know about your partner if you’re in a long-term relationship, but you really don’t.

And as for the music side of things, I’m rather looking forward to the next music event that pops up on Ward’s calendar. I’m hoping it will be jazz!

Update: Ward got back from opera and told me he’d already finished Five Children on the Western Front. He really liked it. And he cried at the end. But he cries at movies too, so I already predicted that one.

22 thoughts on “A book club of two

  1. Beth F

    Mr. BFR is a reader too. We often discuss books, but because we aren’t reading the same book at the same time, the discussions are kind of one-sided. Still we recommend books back and forth. He recently instigated reading Fridays, by which we don’t turn on the TV or music until 10pm. It’s a great new tradition.

  2. Care

    Awesome! I might be able to sneak some of those questions in but not as a “program”! :).
    My husband is not much of a fiction reader but he can surprise me occasionally. Best to you on your book club!
    Pet Sematary readalong 3/1-4/15.

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      It’s nice to do the questions as a kind of game, Care. We laughed so much (especially since you’re supposed to keep looking into each other’s eyes while you’re answering each question) and just had one of the best dinners out ever.

  3. rhapsodyinbooks

    My husband and I actually began our relationship as a book club of two, since we didn’t know anyone else who wanted to read what we wanted to read! We still share reading, which oddly, is about one of the only things we have in common!

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I didn’t know that, Jill! I’m starting to see how reading is a great thing to have in common. Plus it’s giving me incentive to read, too, so we can talk about a book together.

  4. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    That’s why I’ve never bought into the ‘opposites attract’ thing. You have to have some common interests and be friends. Glad you got your husband to reading again and you can share it with him.
    Now I’m curious about those questions…

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Those questions are a lot of fun, Alex! They’re designed to help people fall in love but I think they do a lot to rejuvenate a long-term relationship too.

  5. Kay

    How very nice! I think your Valentine date and all that came from it sound wonderful. Good luck with your book club of 2! My husband does read, just not as much as me. We do occasionally read the same authors, not much, but sometimes. However, when we travel, we listen to audiobooks together. And I sort of manage what he reads. I basically put books that I think he’ll like on his Kindle or pick up paperbacks for him. Then he’ll let me know if the author is good match, etc. It works for us. :-)

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I do that with my older son, Kay – I put books out that I know he’d like to read and he always ends up reading them.

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Me too! I was so happy when he said he’d like to start reading some of the books I was reading. IRL, I don’t know any book lovers, so when the only chance I get to chat about books is online.

  6. Jenni Elyse (@jenni_elyse)

    I’m glad you and your husband are reading and listening to music together. My husband and I watch movies and tv together. He doesn’t like to read fiction and I don’t think I could ever get my husband to. What we do works for us. :)

  7. Heidenkind

    That’s so sweet. My mom loves reading but my dad reads one book a year, if that, so the chances of them starting a book club are pretty slim. :)

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      That was Ward too! At most a book a year. So you never know. (Mind you, he was a reader as a kid – but mostly non-fiction).

  8. Angie @Angela's Anxious Life

    I wanted to read the article above about “grey divorce” but of course I had to be a dang member to read it. Sigh. I love that you are sharing about working on your relationship! I have been married now almost 14 years and it can be hard. We don’t have kids it’s just us.. so we have to figure out things that keep us both interested and not just get bored. I look forward to reading about more of your adventures together!

  9. Athira

    Being in a book club of two with your husband is a great idea! My husband and I have very conflicting tastes in books so that makes reading the same books a tad difficult, but even if we don’t read the same books, we almost always discuss them, so that compensates a bit for the not reading the same book part.


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