Tag Archives: book club

I think I’ve created a book-reading demon …

It’s funny how things happen sometimes.

Take the whole cooking thing around here, for example. Cooking always felt like a chore to me, but hey, if I didn’t do it, who would, right? And then, about eight or nine years ago, out of the blue, my husband Ward said he’d like to try cooking Saturday night’s dinner. I, of course (but of course!) immediately said yes. And somehow that first Saturday became every Saturday and then suddenly he was cooking most of the meals.

I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I oh so quietly yielded the keys to the kitchen to him and slipped away to the nearest sofa with a good book.

It was a big change, and I took it in stride. And now another big change has happened.

Back in February, I posted about how Ward and I were starting a book club of two. I’d read an article about how relationships are greatly improved when couples make an effort to experience each other’s hobbies. Ward and I discussed it, and we decided I’d start going to more of the music-type things he likes doing, and he would start reading some of the books I was reading.

At first, we were fairly evenly matched. We both read Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library (I enjoyed it, he didn’t),  and then we read S.J. Bolton’s debut novel, Sacrifice, which we both enjoyed. From there, he read Bolton’s Awakening and I, well, I started feeling a little behind. I read Awakening while he polished off Five Children on the Western Front.

Feeling the pressure now, I decided to borrow Bolton’s Blood Harvest from the library again; I’d read it the previous month, so having him read it gave me a bit of a reprieve while I finished Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, which he’d started but wasn’t that interested in. I finally managed to finish Five Children on the Western Front and he blazed through Blood Harvest. It turned out, it wasn’t much of a reprieve.

After Dark

While I found myself busy with Pet Sematary for the readalong, he decided to try Murakami’s After Dark, which Ti had recommended to me as a good book for getting into Murakami. And despite not having liked The Strange Library, Ward absolutely loved After Dark.

Since he finished it, he’s been asking me if I’ve started it yet. Which I haven’t. But I did put two more Murakami books on hold for him.

He was twiddling his thumbs, eyeing all the books we had around, so I suggested he read Norwegian by Night.

He finished it yesterday.

And now I’m two books behind, in our little book club of two.

What kind of book-reading demon have I created?!

Obviously the only way out of this dilemma is to hand him books I’ve already read. Never fear, I’ve already thought of that. I have American Gods and The Martian all ready for him. My only problem? He’s probably going to want to read more Murakami first.

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.