Slice of Life 29: An Unexpected Book Club
By Janice Ewing
For as long as I can remember, my brother and I have led different reading lives. Growing up, I was the girl valiantly bringing home as many books as I could carry from the neighborhood library each week, in addition to collecting and devouring my beloved Nancy Drew mysteries. He pored over the coveted action hero comics of the day with his friends, eventually moving on to war and crime novels, while I grew into a love of character-driven realistic fiction.
About a year ago, after suffering a major loss in his life, he mentioned having read Gone Girl. He talked about how the weird plot twists had drawn him in and kept his attention during a difficult time. He was anxious to know if I’d read it and when I said I hadn’t, his response was that he would be bringing it on his next visit, which he did. With a bit of reluctance (it did not seem like my cup of tea), I ventured in and was soon riveted.
The best part was sharing reactions with my brother when I got to the end. I did not finish the book and think “I’ll have to read another by this author.” (Not to take anything away from Gillian Flynn; it’s not her, it’s me.) However, in planning for an upcoming visit, he offered to bring Dark Places, which he had recently read, and added, “This one is even more twisted – I can’t wait to hear what you think.” I was in. And just as a shadow of a thought began to cross my mind that we might be in a rut he added, “Oh, and I’m also bringing Still Alice. It’s much better than the movie.” I guess we have a book club of sorts.
* This “Slice of Life” post is part of a larger blog series, hosted by the blog site, Two Writing Teachers: A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.
How fun to share this with your brother. One of the things about book clubs is that it stretches us to read things that we might not read. Now, do you get to pick a title for him to read? 🙂 I am adding Still Alice to my list of “to reads,” but will probably skip Dark Places. Enjoy!
What a wonderful aspect of your relationship, to be able to talk about books together. It adds another layer to your interactions/conversations
Janice, how wonderful to share reading with your brother. I didn’t read Gone Girl but understand that feeling of being drawn in. At the generosity and suggestion of my neighbor, I just finished, rather devoured, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Impossible to put down.
Such a beautiful post. It’s intimate in the best of ways. Literature heals and joins us.
Love that you tried something different. I think that is the best thing about a book group. I know I have read and loved many books because of my book group that I would never have picked up on my own. And, I read both Gone Girl and Still Alice. Very different, but each one left its mark.
In some ways, I could have *almost* written this post, too, Janice. My brother and I had similar (that is, dissimilar) reading lives when we were growing up. I devoured my Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series while my brother read comic after comic. Unlike you and your brother, though, we’ve never really shared any reading experiences when we became adults. Maybe I should give it a try! 🙂