My First Book Club

You would think, given my lifelong love of books, that I would be the veteran of many a book club by now, but I’m not. Every time I watch The Jane Austin Book Club, I want to start one, but I never have enough bandwidth to start yet another new thing in my life. Then one day, a like-minded colleague came to work brimming about a book club she’d attended the night before.

It turned out to be a book club for women focused on non-fiction. I was hooked! They only meet quarterly and she gave me the name of the next selection, Just Like Us by Helen Thorpe and I promptly ordered it. It ended up taking me until yesterday to finish, partly due to being over-committed to other endeavors, and partly due to it being a very fascinating story told in a meticulously journalistic manner.

So, after work, I headed to a nearby city to attend the meeting. Upon arriving, I was greeted warmly and, donning my name tag, I gathered up some refreshments and found a seat. We were in a conference room of a bank. The room was filled with about 30 professional women of mostly my own age or older. There was one woman in her thirties, and one who looked like late teens or early twenties (who turned out to be the daughter of a founding member).

Also in attendance were three immigration lawyers and a non-citizen law clerk. These four were invited to the discussion to bring some much needed expertise to the topic of the book. The book follows four Mexican American girls in Denver from high school through college, two of them undocumented. The events unfold against a backdrop of hot debate on immigration reform prompted, in part, by the murder of a local police officer by an undocumented Mexican man.

Now, I’m not sure how a typical book club goes, but this meeting ended up as mostly a Q&A of the experts about all sorts of immigration issues, some drawn from the book, but many not. Here in Detroit, we have similar issues. I’ve been drawn, especially, to the plight of children, whether documented or not. I once had the privilege of hearing a first-hand account by a girl, documented, whose family was deported when she was seventeen and how and why she forced her family to leave her behind.

Meanwhile, my colleague was running late and arrived minutes after the bank guard locked up and went home. She did text me, but in the heat of the discussion I didn’t hear the soft tone alerting me to a text. We connected the next day and I filled her in on the event. Just about everyone there knew her personally, she’s that kind of person, a maven, bringing diverse people together who have a common bond.

I’m already excited to attend the next meeting, which won’t be until October. We voted for our next book and it is Give and Take by Adam Grant. Meeting quarterly with a new group of women may not meet my current needs to meet just these sort of women, but meet them I will and I hope some friendships ensue for the next phase of my life.

Find the Joy in the Journey…find it in every facet of your life!

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