I, Mrs. Ford, English Major, have joined a book club.
Not all that shocking, I guess, but news nonetheless.
It's an online book club that I found through a blogger, Edie, I follow, who also, coincidentally, is good friends with my Aunt out in Tennessee. Edie is a strong believer and advocate for reading and reading the classics, which just speaks to my little soul.
I have been aching for discussions on literature, one of the things I miss most desperately about my time in college. And I've toyed with the idea of joining a book club, but most book clubs. that I know of at least, aren't...well...they aren't reading the classics, I'll put it that way. I've been feeling a pull back to them but was struggling to find the motivation and the incentive to go back. And then Edie announced this new online book club and my heart soared. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will not be asked to read 50 Shades of Grey...and that's the kind of confidence I want in a book club I join.
She's doing a chronological approach, so we're starting with The Odyssey by Homer, for September. I've read it before, but it deserves a re-read when I'm not also trying to read three other books for other classes. It deserves some undivided attention and focus. And that's what Edie is really trying to accomplish with this kind of book club. She doesn't want to shy away from the difficult classics for the very reason many do...they require focus and effort, which is something we are sorely lacking in our age of social networks, tweets, and instant information. Ironically, that "information" is often meaningless and empty, so very unlike a classic like The Odyssey. Your high school English teacher wants you to read these books for a reason, and it's not to torture you.
To begin the discussion she offered this article from the LA Times (it's a few years old, but every bit as relevant now...if not more so) on "The Lost Art of Reading" and holy cow. Sing the song of my people, please. I have serious thoughts and musings on this kind of stuff and the "why" behind reading fiction and the classics that is intertwined with, and cannot be separated from, my life as a Christ Follower and my God-given ministry of reconciliation. That may be a subject for another post, but I will offer you this quote from the article that kind of sums up what I mean by that:
[T]he ability to still my mind long enough to inhabit someone else's world, and to let that someone else inhabit mine. Reading is an act of contemplation, perhaps the only act in which we allow ourselves to merge with the consciousness of another human being.
Chew on that for awhile, then let's talk. Seriously.
Anyway, I'm really excited about this. If you're looking for the same kind of challenging (and life-changing) literature in a book club forum, join me, join us! And let me know if you are. It'll do your heart, mind, and soul some good.