November 5, 2013
I've been looking for a book group that focuses on the classics, the highbrow, and the non-mainstream, but they are hard to find. As much as I enjoy my solitary reading time, I get so much more from reading if I can discuss the books with others. I long for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints. I also would enjoy companionship of other literary enthusiasts who "get" literature. At my daughter's swim class, another mother looked concerned when she saw I was reading Our Mutual Friend. She asked me if I was reading it for a class, her subtext being that maybe I had an excuse for such odd behavior. I replied no, I was reading it for my enjoyment. She broke eye contact and nervously sidled away. I'm a proud nonconformist, and I got a good laugh out if this incident and similar incidents. But it would be a nice change if someone reacted to my reading by asking me my opinion of a character, or the writer's themes, then sharing their opinion.
Middlemarch, by George Eliot. I love the poignancy of Lydgate and Dorothea's fervent desires to do something meaningful, and make a worthy contribution, and how their goals are thwarted by their own poor judgments. The final paragraph of the book, about our lives being better than they might have been because of the works of people who lie in unvisited tombs, is one of my favorite passages from literature. I consider Eliot one of my favorite authors because her stories come from her deep understanding of the motives, disappointments, social pressures, and hopes that drive people. Some other favorites of mine: Persuasion, Great Expectations, Atonement, King Lear, and Vanity Fair.
I discovered the meetup.com site by googling for book groups and foodie groups. This is not the only book meetup I'm trying, but it's the most promising that I've seen.
I'm 47 years old, a U of M law school alum, a lifelong learner, and an avid reader. My undergrad degree is in English, and although literature is not my vocation, it remains my avocation. I love to read and analyze books.