Yesterday was the first meeting of the new book group. We discussed Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. A dozen people showed up. The discussion was (surprisingly) fabulous. I didn’t know what to expect, having never been in a book group before, but I was pretty flabbergasted by how deeply and carefully these people read this book. I already knew most of the people from yoga, but I now feel I know them on a whole new level. It’s very cool.
One man said that he wanted to join the group primarily because he’s an avid reader, but also because he lives in a pretty isolated place and needs to “get off the mountain and be with people.”
My heart melted when he said that.
Made me think that book groups aren’t just about books.
The best part for me was being witness to, and part of, a big rollicking discussion. Haven’t had that experience since college, and even in college it didn’t happen as often as I would have liked.
This particular book wasn’t my favorite, but the majority of the group really liked it and made a great case for it, so much so, in fact, that I thought I might go back and re-read at least parts.
But …I won’t.
That’s because I’m already deeply into A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, which is the next book. Here, for the record, is my review of Lincoln In The Bardo:
Dear Lincoln In The Bardo,
It’s not you, it’s me. I’m the one who’s messed up and blind. You didn’t do anything wrong. You were great, in fact. Everything you said, and the way you said it, was beautiful and true and I loved that about you. All my friends liked you, too. You were creative and complex. I just couldn’t up-level to your world.
You and I, it seems, have very different minds, and not only that, our minds seem to want to play in different sand boxes. I really need a lot of light and a considerable amount of humor; you were a tad bit heavy, and a little too dark for me.
Even when you yourself made fun of your dark side, and could even laugh at it, I wasn’t amused. It was too much of a stretch. I had to try too hard. (You were kinda exhausting.)
So while I learned a lot from you, and don’t regret getting to know you, we’ll never make it as a couple. We just want different things.
I’ll let you hang out in my “Finished” pile for a while, but I can foresee the day when you’ll just take up too much shelf space and I’ll have to donate you to the library.
But at least that way, if I ever change my mind, I’ll know where you live.