A Commitment to Books and Friendship (not in that order)

Monday Musings from Melinda #1

by LHS Contributor Melinda M

They say that friendship is the key to happiness. They say that routines are the key to longevity. I can’t footnote the specific “they,” but you know who I’m talking about – the anonymous researchers and pundits you can count on to back up any argument.

And the argument I put forth is this: a commitment to meeting a group of friends monthly can often save your sanity.

For ten years, our group of five has met pretty much every month as a book club. Yes, we drink wine. Yes, we eat and laugh and discuss LOTS of topics besides the book; but we do in fact discuss our book choice, even if sometimes as an afterthought. Full disclosure: some of us (ahem, me!) don’t always read the book but show up anyway and offer opinions based on what we think we would’ve thought. IMG_8232In ten years, we’ve read 140 books from all genres. We try to mix it up and we try to find book copies through the library system, because what if it’s a book we don’t like?! We have a rotation that we can barely remember and every month the person choosing does her best to bring enough borrowed copies for the big reveal.

first time she drowned coverI am super excited for this month’s pick – my own – because it’s written by my childhood friend, Kerry Kletter: The First Time She Drowned and it’s getting amazing reviews!

Over ten years, we’ve met at nearly all Hilo area eateries, past and present, that meet several criteria – not too expensive (save for special events), not too loud, and not so crowded that we’ll be rushed out. On occasion, we’ve done a potluck at one of our homes or at a park – the most unusual was when we hired a bartender friend to come over and make creative cocktails for us all night! We even went camping a few times together with our families before our kids’ lives made ours even busier.

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My reading buddies!  Shown with last book read and next book to read.

During this last decade (oh my god, a decade?!), we’ve listened, consoled, supported and advised each other on many of life’s milestones – children growing up and out, aging parents, job changes, illnesses and more.

I’ve heard there are many book clubs in Hilo with various approaches to meeting, picking books, and discussing them. But I’m very passionate about ours – we’ve tweaked how we’ve done things over the years and created a wonderful community for ourselves in the process.IMG_8231We are a group of five very different women from different backgrounds but we all share a love of books, a commitment to meeting, and aloha for each other. For me, these women and our book club are key to my happiness and hopefully to “Living Hilo Style” for a long time to come!

SIDEBAR:

Our “staff picks” from a decade of shared reading:

  • Amy – Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Joanne – Molokai by Alan Brennert
  • Janet – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Melissa – Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Melinda – Honor Killing by David E. Stannard
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