Monday, October 19, 2009

Of Words and Wine - A Book Club

I haven't mentioned it yet, but you may have noticed that I added a Bookshelf to my sidebar several weeks ago. This is because I managed to persuade a few of my coworkers to start a book club with me and I am so excited about it that I wanted to share what we are reading with you.

This past Friday night was our first meeting, and the book we chose to read about a month ago was a long one, about 932 pages. I hosted the inaugural meeting at my house, and (I know you're going to be shocked) I made some goodies for us to snack on while we chatted.

If you wonder how we came up with the name for our club (and even if you didn't) I'm going to tell you! I told the girls when we decided to do this, that the one prerequisite for membership, was being okay with a few cocktails during the meetings. I think I just christened the birth of the anti-AA meeting.

In any case, real quick I'll just say I served up a little antipasto salad, sesame chicken skewers, and french onion biscuits. Just some little tidbits to nibble on during the meeting.

So, on to the book.

Five Smooth Stones, by Ann Fairbairn.

This book was first published in 1966, and it amazed us that we hadn't ever heard of it before now. I have no doubt that the novel was extremely controversial in its day, a "monumental" story of interracial love and the civil rights movement. I have always considered myself to be the opposite of "racist". I was raised in a very loving home where I was taught that people should be judged by their actions, not by their genes. I grew up with friends of every ethnic background and cultural upbringing. I pursued a degree in foreign language in college.

This book made me ashamed of my white skin.

Please don't get me wrong, this was an amazing book, I think everyone (I mean EVERYONE) should read it. I know all about the civil rights movement, the history of slavery, and I am proud to say that one of my ancestors ran a station on the Underground Railroad. I can also say that I now know that I had no idea how horrific the reality of those dark days was. The book made me proud of those who stood up, made me feel guilt for not being more of an activist and being content to say, "I do not subscribe to that point of view", and it made me cry for the pain and suffering of the characters in the book, both black and white.

It shocks me that this book is not more well known. It is not heavily circulated, but is incredibly well reviewed by those who have read it.

If you can get your hands on a copy, I encourage all of you to take the time to read this book, and re-evaluate your position on the issue. It really makes you think about who you are, and whether or not it is the person you truly wanted to be. If you can't get a copy, I'll send you mine, as long as you promise to read it and then pass it on to someone else to read. Keep this one going, it may be the best book I've ever read.


girlichef said...

I would love to be in a book club...well, I love my bloggy-friend book clubs...but a real life one would rock! 'specially if we discussed over wine. I wonder if I could swing it...

Kim said...

Having a book club is a great idea. Sounds like an emotional book that gets you thinking.

NV said...

Sounds like a great time. Wish I was a little closer! I might have to crash it.:-)

We had a book club at work some years back. We even made it through a few books before it kind of fell apart.

In its last phase it was a "reading list."