Last night was the first night of the Literary Ladies Book Club. It is different from most book clubs in that it is more like a class. The leader is a brilliant woman who has years of experience in teaching and leading groups. In many groups someone, usually a different person each time, shares a review of the book and then there is a general discussion of the book. This group is a little different and the women obviously love it. We started with Susan asking each of the 20 or so women for one word that described the book. The questions she asked were insightful and provoked discussion. We then broke up into small groups of five or six for about 20 minutes. Susan had provided questions that led us into a broader view of the theme of the book. We came back together and then shared the answers that each group came up with. This was followed by each person telling which person that was most memorable or that impressed one the most. Finally each one was asked which scene, or which quote impressed one the most. There were other questions and discussions too.
The book we discussed was A Room With A View by E. M. Forster. It was published in 1908 so a very different time and place were portrayed in the book. I was amused by several of the younger women who, when asked for a one word summary, said “boring” or “shallow.” The contrast of the Rooms and the Views, typified the two different kinds of people. Those in the rooms were restricted and conservative and those outside were progressive and creative. Knowing a little about the author helped one to understand the book. Susan also had us read an essay written by the author entitled What I Believe. This also helped us to understand the author and the book.
All in all, I would give Susan excellent marks. Everyone was eager and participated well. I think we all felt as though we had learned something first, when we read the book and essay, and then when we finished the discussion.
The downside was the drive down to Laguna Hills. Yahoo told me it was 22.61 miles to Susan’s house. I don’t like to drive at night. . . actually, I don’t enjoy driving much at all. The oncoming lights cause glare for me but it was such a rewarding night, and it is only once a month so I will try it again, especially since next month we will be reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I think I will rent the movie after I read the book. Sounds like a night for popcorn, a soda and a box of Kleenex.
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