On joining a book club and being surrounded by life experience

Dear Vi,

Last October I was invited into a book club by my friend Jean.

Call me a nerd, but I have always wanted to be in a book club!

It was a little intimidating at first, to tell the truth. I mean, this is a super-educated, well-traveled, well-read, well-spoken circle of impressive critical thinkers who can also cook like nobody’s business. They meet each month at a different member’s house, and you should see the spread each month’s hostess puts on! OMG seriously delicious…I could belong to this group just for the wine and “lunch.”

I am the youngest at 57. Our eldest member hosts 90 years with grace and a keen wit. I want to be just like her some day.

…Also, this is a long standing group of friends who have been reading together for decades. Yes, you read that right. Decades. (Did I say I felt a little intimidated? Yeah.)

And they have welcomed me. Which blows me away. I can’t even…

I’ve read four books with them so far: The Golden Age by Joan London; Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto; The Alice Network by Kate Quinn; and The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. This month they are reading Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. Quite the eclectic selection!

It is really interesting hearing their opinions, and especially–especially!– soaking up the stories they tell around each novel’s topic. For example, when discussing The Golden Age, the group reminisced about Polio. And after reading Forgiveness, they told their own stories about friends and acquaintances (of Japanese descent) who had been forced into internment camps during the Second World War.

Here’s the thing: I have lived most of my adult life surrounded by people my age or younger. It wasn’t until we moved to Salmon Arm that I had the opportunity to spend much time with the generation one up from mine, to listen to first-hand stories on subjects that are, well…historical from my perspective.

I feel the same about the quilters guild that I belong to, where eight members are turning 80 this year, and one will celebrate 100 years in April.

Being part of these two groups is like being surrounded by a room of older sisters, aunts, and even a grandmother or two. And the laughter! Let me tell you, these ladies like to laugh.

Seriously, if the collective life experience of these women could be transmogrified into electricity, it would power a small city.

Do you have the opportunity to participate in an activity with a diverse group of people including those a generation older than you?

And do you belong to a book club? If you don’t and you’d like to, ask at your public library. I’ll bet they can point you in the right direction.

Read on!


  1. LOL, no but I AM the older generation! Most of my friends are in their early 40s, except for a few long-standing friends. I love what you are talking about – the cross sharing of experiences. Good for you for joining the club, taking a chance and diving in 100%!

  2. I am a retired Home Economics teacher/Realtor and I have had the good fortune to belong to a book club in Calgary—all members are retired educators. I joined several years after they formed their group, and their guidelines include a children’s lit book, current events, a classic, a book that teaches you something worthwhile (like retirement finances, for example) a women’s issue book, a Canadian author…you get the gist. It has forced us all to read things we might not have read, and our discussions are lively. Our group is fun, entertaining, thoughtful and a great group of friends. It has enriched my life immensely.

  3. Yay! Well done Nita. Happy to read your post even at 4.30am when sleep is eluding me. I do not belong to a book club but in my various sewing escapades I have friends of all ages. It is good to see life from all angles and perspectives. One of my friends is 82 and when I mention an old person she says you mean like me and I have to say no, because in her attitude she is not old. I also have friends the ages of my daughters and I hope I have some wisdom to pass on to them when it is asked for. We all have life experiences and so long as we respect each other we can learn and love . Xx p.s. Excuse the ramblings and mistakes in my sleepless state and my husbands glasses……

I'd love to hear your thoughts!