My new book club met yesterday – I shouldn’t call it a blogger meet-up, since only three of us were bloggers – and it was a lot of fun. The Hobgoblin and I were there, of course, and Emily from Telecommuter Talk and three other women. Talking about the book, Barbara Noble’s Doreen, was a lot of fun, but one of the best things about it was meeting a fellow blogger and finally putting a face to a name. I haven’t had the experience of meeting a blogger in the flesh I’d known only online, and it’s interesting the way your mental image of a person, shaped by their blogger persona, has to adapt to the real-live person. Well, for those of you wondering, Emily is even cooler in person than she is on her blog — and we all know her blog is pretty cool.
We had a great discussion of the novel; we talked for something like an hour and a half, at first very intensely, and then we slowed down a bit, but it was like we didn’t want to finish up and we kept coming back to the book to make new observations. A couple of the people brought notes and questions and I felt a tiny bit unprepared – I must remember to take notes next time! – but ultimately that didn’t matter, as we all had things to contribute. It felt comfortable and completely non-competitive, and it was the kind of book discussion I like, where people feel free to make personal connections and tell stories from their lives that relate to the book and help to make sense of it.
And I learned more about the book – one of the coolest things about the meeting was that one of the book club members is English and so she could give us some information into the dynamics of class in England, an important part of the novel. We Americans were eating up all her insights into how accurately the book portrayed the class tensions – interestingly, she told us that the two ways of pronouncing Doreen – the accent on the first syllable or the second – was a marker of class difference, a detail I would never have figured out on my own.
So the group is planning on making the trek to the Tenement Museum in New York City in February – they’d read Triangle, a book about a fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in the city and are visiting the museum as a follow-up to that. And I suggested and everyone agreed that we read Anzia Yezierska’s novel Bread Givers about a young Jewish girl growing up on the Lower East Side and struggling with her father and her religious heritage. I’m looking forward to the trip!