People who know me well say I don’t read books; I eat them. A graduation…
As an avid reader, joining Prime Time for Women’s Book Club was exciting for me. I had never been in a book club before because job and family obligations made it difficult to commit to a specific schedule. After retirement, my schedule opened up and I was able to participate on a regular basis.
My reading interests are eclectic. When I was working, I spent a lot of time reading professional books and articles. But, always before bed, I read a book about something totally removed from my career interests. Mostly these were nonfiction books that told me something about the human condition or the world at large. I traveled quite a bit so I enjoyed reading about the history and people of countries where I would be going.
But once retired, I promised myself I would explore genres that I had not done before. The book club opened me up to fiction in all sorts of areas: mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction. It was such a joy. My prior reading had primarily given me the information and knowledge that I needed to do my job. These new areas dealt more with emotions. After reading a book club selection I felt happiness, sadness, disappointment, awe. And discussing those feelings with fellow bibliophiles helped me see nuances and meanings that I might not have noticed on my own.
Some books I’ve enjoyed reading with book club members include:
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
A fictional account of a young duchess whose arranged marriage to a future king is fraught with danger. Based on a true story, the book shows the limited lives that even royal women had in 16th-century Italy.
The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake
Historical fiction about a woman in 1800s London who, while being trained by her guardian in the field of medicine, must keep her talents secret since women were unable to practice medicine at that time.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Fantasy fiction that allows a woman who is questioning her life choices to explore the opportunities she did not choose to see if they would have made her life better. All of us have likely wondered “What if” I had made other personal or professional choices, how would my life have turned out?
The Secret Life of Sunflowers by Marta Molnar
Historical fiction account of how Vincent van Gogh’s sister-in-law, through perseverance and intelligence, was able to establish him as a great artist after his death. Without Johanna Bonger, the world would not have known about van Gogh’s genius.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
A story of four young women in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Their friendship is a bright spot in a place that can be scary and dangerous for young females. The story is told as a flashback by one of the girls as she reflects on that period in her life. National Book Award finalist in 2016.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
The title of this book addresses multiple layers of Franny Stone’s life. On the surface, it’s about her quest to follow Arctic terns across the ocean on what may be their last migration due to climate change. But, there are events going on in Franny’s life that make the title significant in terms of her personal life journey.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
An eccentric, brilliant woman scientist in the 1960s is confronted with sexism in her profession. How she deals with this is inventive and quirky. Thwarted in one direction, she forges a new path, becoming a media star and a role model for women who want more out of their lives. The book is now a TV mini-series on Apple TV+.
In addition to reading interesting books, the members of the book club are women with whom I have enjoyed forming a friendship. While the club meetings are primarily about the book, we do enjoy catching up with each other’s lives and celebrating milestones important to each other.
The Prime Time for Women’s Book Club has been a wonderful addition to my life.
Cathy Cotleur, in word and deed, is a strong advocate for women. As a member of PTFW Board of Directors, and through her employment and grassroots volunteer efforts she has enabled women to be seen and heard. In the article below, Cathy, who is adventurous and curious, expounds on her expanded love of reading thanks to Prime Time for Women Book Club!