A couple of years after I moved into my current neighbourhood, my neighbour Rena asked me if I was interested in joining the street book club. I thanked her for inviting me, but I really wasn’t interested. She was sweet and super friendly, but I didn’t know her that well. In fact, I didn’t know anyone that well on the street, and I wasn’t sure I would enjoy going to the book club as a result.
You see, back then I was a bit of a hermit. I was one of those people who peeked through the window at passersby or people chatting on the street. My husband knew everyone before I did because he mowed the lawn. People would stop to chat all the time while he was out there, most times asking him how he was able to edge his lawn so meticulously (five years later, people are still trying to figure it out).
A year or so later, Rena asked me again if I wanted to join. “You should come!” she said enthusiastically. I went home that day and mulled it over with my husband. Why don’t I go? I love to read. I need to get out and meet people on the street. I’ll get to see their homes! There was wine! (I was seven months pregnant at the time so the wine would have to wait.)
So I went and I’m so glad I did.
At the first meeting, I met Gaby who lived on the street. She was my age and also pregnant, so we immediately had something in common. The other women I met there were so delightful. I use this word specifically because they are all infectiously positive and friendly women. They love food, wine, reading, and they all have families with older children and provide wonderful stories and advice. They have beautiful homes that give off a vibe of comfort once I step in the door.
I asked some of the women to tell me why they joined the book club and what they love about it the most:
I really like the opportunity to form deeper friendships knowing we'll see each other at least once a month. It's so easy to get busy and just have quick conversations on the street, and it's nice to spend more time together over a glass of wine. It's great to talk about our families, our health problems/solutions, local issues, etc. It's also really great to have a shared book as a launching pad for discussions about things that may not ordinarily crop up in casual conversation. I have definitely gotten to know my neighbours better through the bookclub, particularly when we have socials with our spouses.
I also like being challenged to read books that I may otherwise never have selected. I like the discipline of reading at least one book per month.
I love the company, exchange, and interaction of the women and the fact that we are neighbours. It is wonderful to step out your door once a month and walk in our neighbourhood to an inviting home to enjoy an engaging evening with a very interesting group women.
I am always amazed at the roar of conversation as everyone initially gathers for the evening. It is delightful. You can't help but smile as the group gathers with so much vive.
I love Susan’s reference to the roar of conversation because many times we’re laughing and talking so loud. I remember once when I hosted, my husband was worried that the kids would wake up (they didn’t).
I guess my whole point of this post is to take a risk and join, regardless if someone is asking you to do so or not. Start a book club on your street to get to know the women (or men!) better.
You won’t regret it.
Some might say: “But I don’t read!” So what? Start a wine club! In all honesty, we talk about the book for twenty minutes, and the rest of the time we’re chatting about other things we’ve heard about on the street. I love to read, but that’s why I joined: for the conversation inside and outside of the book. It’s a fantastic way to get to know your neighbours.
It’s been a couple years now and I feel very comfortable on the street now. I don’t hide behind the curtains (unless of course it’s someone trying to sell me something). I’m out chatting with the neighbours, men and women. Being part of a book club gives you a bond with the people on your street. You’re part of something special. I know it all sounds cheesy, but just try it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Next week it’s my turn to review. We read No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. It was scary, and I had trouble reading it sometimes, but I’m looking forward to hearing what the others thought and now that I know them well enough I’m hoping they’ll be on the lookout for suspicious cars outside my house.