Look. I'm not shy. I'm not afraid of joining groups. But wouldn't it be delicious to build a small, regular book club for those of us who want to quietly discuss books with 4 or 5 people we grow to know and love? In a quiet little spot, with snackies, and maybe a kitty cat here and there?
Every book club I see is over-filled and the wait lists are impossible. Also, the last few times I finally DID get on the short-list for a book club, it was... LOUD and too 'busy'.
So, here's the plan: I'm going to build a list of 24 books, (one fiction, one nonfiction each month) and schedule a year of dates. I'll put two meet-ups on the calendar each month, and I'll limit RSVP's to 6. If we build a waitlist of more than 3 people for any given meetup, I'll open a second group of up to 6.
If you are feeling it, jump in. I'll make this a fairly open group for a while, and then close down the membership when we hit about 40 people. I want members to have the following:
1) The opportunity to get to know a diverse and inclusive group of women in their 30s-40s, because it's bloody challenging to meet new friends outside of work!
2) Some thoughtful, engaging discussion of really interesting books. (Totally open to other books, but for the moment, I'll just add my list/ events, to get us going.)
3) A supportive space that grows with regular connections and sharing. (That is how friendship happens. I promise.) I'd really like this to be a good place for connection, building friendships, and giving thought to the world outside our day-to-day routine.
4) Don't otherthink this one, it's just a thought: Could we please limit our screen usage while we are together? I would really love to make conversational eye contact, a LOT.
5) We'll meet-up, catch up on each other's lives a bit, discuss the book for 45 minutes or so, and then spend another 45 minutes on whatever we want to talk about. If the book tells us to keep talking, we'll keep talking. But look. If you started the book, never finished, and are now embarrassed or self-shaming, drop that off somewhere and just come. You will be loved. I promise. (BUT for the sake of awesome-sauce, do TRY to get the book read. Please.)
6) I suppose I have to say: Please don't repeatedly flake, or ghost on us. If you are feeling shy, or you aren't finished reading the book, text or call me. I will very likely talk you into coming out and joining the group anyway. If it just isn't your night to be social, thank you for telling me. We still love you. Maybe someone else will be up for it! If you prove to be a repeat signer-upper/no-shower, I will drop you. It's just practicality. Got me?
7) I'm going to plot a couple of quiet, happy places for meeting. Once we feel comfortable with our group, maybe we'll invite small discussions in our homes, but let's see how it feels in public first.
8) Since I'm plotting this on the fly, I'm thinking just women for now. We don't get a lot of spaces in the world with just women, and I have to say, I could use some practice being friends with women. Couldn't you? Maybe not. You will be a good influence on me.
9) Can I just dream a little and hope we can keep politics and angst to a minimum here? If there is a strong desire, I'll plot a monthly date for VENTING, and maybe one for POLITICS: WE GOTTA TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF!!! But let's really try to start with just books and friendship-building. Fair?
10) That said, I definitely would not mind building regular segments of feminism and LGBTQ(etc) reading. Hell, my friends, we could be meeting a hell of a lot. I should probably get to work finding a venue.
Ok. Look. I'm putting it out there. This is going to be a Berkeley-based group, because frankly, I am in Berkeley most of the time, and I hate commuting. It's going to be limited because I want to get to know everyone. It's going to be as quiet as I can manage, because I hate conversations that involve YELLING to be heard. There will always be sober options, because not everyone wants wine with their cheese.
And I really hope this isn't a very long ramble for nothing.
I look forward to knowing you. Please tell me something thick and wonderful about yourself.