The night The Pear Tree crashed February’s featured book club, it was only the group’s third meeting, and the members were still learning each other’s names.
But when the conversation got going, talking about the book of the month, it flowed and meandered the way it does between old friends.
The book on the table was Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan. It’s the true story of three months the author spent in war-torn Nepal, volunteering for an orphanage. But the conversation wandered from compelling moments in the book to the Twighlight series, vampires and zombie porn.
“It’s fairly casual – more about the wine and the socializing than the book, I think,” said member Suzan Wood-Young. “We chat about our lives, then we talk a bit about what we liked or disliked about the book.”
There are 12 women in the club, and two rules: no men and no kids. Each member gets a turn to host once in the year. The host picks the book, and they’re not allowed to read it before they pick it (if someone else in the group happens to have read it in the past, that’s fine).
Group founder Lisa Bernier picked up The Ultimate Book Club Organizer to keep track of the books they tackle, and it moves from house to house each month. The organizer has a place to assign a rating – “wow,” “okay” and “ugh.” This month’s book was given a unanimous “wow,” but their first selection, The Children of Witches, by Sherri Smith, got an “ugh.” Last month’s, The Secret Daughter by Shilpi S. Gowda received and “okay.”
“We want to explore different genres – something we might not pick up in a bookstore. Some of these books I probably wouldn’t have picked up – I would have passed by,” said Christina Donick.
In addition to being a welcome monthly social escape, Cherise Myers, who has nicknamed the group “Book Club for Dummies,” says the monthly meetings give her an incentive to make time to read.
“I love reading, but so many of my books end up just sitting there, with two little ones in my life,” she said.
Lisa thought of starting the club after moving away from her old group, in Dawson Creek, recently. After trying a local club that she found much too serious in their approach, she suggested creating their own to friends Tracy Sherman, Min Du and Cherise over a glass of wine at Rotten Grape in Kelowna.
“The club was born over wine, and wine and food is still a key feature,” Lisa said. “It’s about the book, too, but also about friendship and visiting and getting out once in a while.”
Their next meeting, which will feature the book Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, by Christopher Moore, will be a pyjama party.
– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier