The book club provides a wonderful opportunity for women to share their love for books – and open communication lines on a range of topics, as Jennifer Dolinsky finds.
Women are natural communicators. Women can communicate anywhere, anytime, about seemingly anything. Being a woman myself and loving to communicate with everyone about anything and doing this in of course only the most excited tone, I have recognized that books are a great facilitator of communication. Often book clubs can become about building friendships as well as giving women something to discuss, analyze, and relax with. These days, women are busy with careers, children, relationships, friendships, and at times, rarely can make the time to relax, sit down, and read a good book. Book clubs make women enforce this time. I see women gathering everywhere – cafes, loading up on lattes and gabbing about a sensational book they read. In having joined in on a book club discussion lately, I realize that the books are much more than that to these women. It’s the time of day when everything else gets quiet for them except the words on the pages and they can take this time to get lost in it. It’s an escape of sorts, a time when the reality of a day can drift away and a person can travel inside the book, relish in a happy ending.
It’s interesting listening to women talk about books. Characters become friends – there are fast talking, laughing, arguing, analyzing conversations. In having sat in on a book club recently myself, I realize that most women feel exactly how I do when I read book. We are sad to put it down, finish it, close the chapter on characters and plots we spent so much time getting lost in. We want these characters to jump off the page to us and they do – we can relate to them.
One of the books that the club was reading was Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. She is a phenomenal writer, a writer who takes risks in writing perfect characters that put themselves in imperfect situations that make them all the more relatable. For instance, Heart of the Matter includes the tangled plot of a man, a doctor, having an affair with a patient’s mother – he is married, she is not. Emily Giffin writes these characters, all of them, in such a way that we root for them regardless. We see the perspective of all of them. The book club argues of course, that the man is wrong for having had the affair (of course he is!) but then there were arguments that he fell in love and it happens and haven’t we all fallen in love with the right person at the wrong time? The room had gotten quiet then, when the question had been asked, and we all thought about that. Of course that’s true, of course at one time or another, that has happened.
Book clubs allow for this kind of open communication between women. It’s almost a safe place. Because books are so wonderful an escape, such a place of comfort, women can be honest about how they’re feeling about the situations in them in regards to their own lives. The women in this club discussed the book openly, taking with it what they all got from it – talking about how situations made them feel, which characters they loved, quotes, lines from the book that made them really think… it was a delight watching these women communicate, enjoy, share, and go back for more.
Jennifer Dolinsky works for an editor in New Jersey and also for a pediatric opthamologist. She enjoys reading and is currently working on a novel of her own.