Bookclubs Are Bookish
I’m not a songwriter nor a lyricist, but I’ve got Anne, Sandra, Jocelyn, Valery, Yvonne, Jeanette, Marthie, Esther, Lindsay, Carina, Allison, Barbara, Emma, Jurie, Marie, Jenny, Pam, Helene, Debbie, Denise, Ann, Alma, Cherry, Maureen, Lorette, Aletta, Will, Elsabe, Riette and Gerda on my mind.
Since early morning this house has been abuzz with activity, pots are rattling on the stove, the washing machine, tumble dryer and oven can’t be switched on at the same time so appliances have to rotate according to importance. The old Sunbeam is clacking away whipping and beating up a meringue. Outside the thunder is rolling in and the rain is beating down in buckets.
It’s my turn to host the Book Club and one would think that after 35 years of doing this I’d have the routine down to a T. Not really. It’s a simple meal, nothing fancy, in this weather it’s all about comfort food, so it’s Grandmama’s Coq Au Vin and Ouma’s Japie’s delight for dessert.
What gets me all a-fluster is the book box. A nightmare. I think my age is starting to tell and my skills at being a librarian are failing me. Tell you what I’m not bothered, I know one of the other girls will set things right again next month.
We’ve read hundred of books, the current list is so long one needs a ream of papers to print it and the assistant at the bookshop looked at me agog when I flipped through it checking on names when I selected my books for the month. A reminder of our years together. we've had the good, bad and ugly ones, the Booker Prize winners and the New York Times favourites we've loved some and hated others. Some were surprising and others didn't get a glance, just because of a cover. Our dogs, children and friends have ruined some and the beach, pool and bath have soaked a few too.
“It wasn't that I forgot Hanna. But at a certain point the memory of her stopped accompanying me wherever I went. She stayed behind, the way a city stays behind as a train pulls out of the station. It's there, somewhere behind you, and you could go back and make sure of it. But why should you?” ― Bernhard Schlink, The Reader. My favourite book a decade or two ago, the only one that's ever got 10/10 from me.
I have books everywhere, on shelves, in book cases, on the floor, next to the bed, my armchair, under, inside, outside of bedside cabinets. I take a book to the dentist, G.P and hairdresser, I’m sure I’d have DTs if caught without one. My heart races when I smell the pages of old books, new books, dirty books and just unwrapped books. I have photos, letters, notes, receipts, Valentine cards, birthday cards, invitations, thank you notes, shopping lists, menus, parking tickets, toothpicks, oil spills, flowers, leaves, cake batter and bread crusts and muffin crumbs stuck away in books, all these things bring back memories. The divorce settlement I'll shred.
I’m a bibliophile, and according to Wikipedia this is what we are: a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm (sometimes pejorative) is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading. The adjective form of the term is bibliophilic. A bibliophile may be, but is not necessarily, a book collector.
So while I dash around getting the table laid, the linens and napery ironed, cutlery polished and arranging flowers, the wine is chilling, the books are laid out waiting to be picked by some of my favourite friends. I know we're going to do a lot of laughing and talking and we'll solve the soccer crisis and set our government on the right track, I'll tell them about my grandbaby and they'll regale me with everything that's happened during the past month.
“Each of us carries a room within ourselves, waiting to be furnished and peopled, and if you listen closely, you may need to silence everything in your own room, you can hear the sounds of that other room inside your head.”― Susan Sontag, In America another of my favourite people.
Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. –P.J. O’Rourke says, I’ll keep it mind.