My April has been pretty packed, if you noticed based on my online disappearance. It wasn’t as busy as my March was (come on, birthday months are always busy), but April had a different kind of thing. I’m actually a little bit overwhelmed when I realized that April is ending on Monday. What happened to my month.
April is a big month for me, in terms of bookish activities though. I haven’t been reading that much, or reviewing, but I assure you, I’ve been doing lots of bookish things with bookish friends. And those are the best things, right? :)
Happy second birthday, book club!
Two years ago, my book club was born. Okay, it wasn’t really — the club has been online for how many years but they only started meeting face to face on April 2010. I wasn’t a part of the book club then — I only joined the group on their second official meet up — but looking back, it almost feels like I’ve been with them from the very start.
So on April 15, we all met to celebrate our book club’s birthday.
It was an afternoon of food, books and, for the first time ever, poetry! We had the honor of having a published author and poet, Jim Pascual Agustin, talk to us about his works that afternoon. As a little tribute to the art of poetry, we were all required to read poems, be it our own or our favorites. All my old poems (or attempts at that) were really childish attempts, so I decided to read an old favorite, You Must Accept by Kate Light. I’ll just let you read that on your time — please don’t let me explain why I like that. :P
After the formal-ish discussion, we headed to the next door coffee shop to get coffee, eatÂ white chocolate gifts and cakes and of course, talk more. As usual, about books, future plans for the club and some gossip that will only stay in that coffee shop. It was a lovely afternoon with them once again, and at the end of the day, I was just really happy to be a part of this group.
I was asked to give closing remarks for the event, being one of the group’s moderators. I did it impromptu, as usual, so I can’t remember what I said, but the gist was kind of like this:
When I first got an invite to attend the second meet-up, I thought of not attending because the venue was too far, and I didn’t know the people. But I ended up going because Kuya Doni said that he only invited the people he wanted to get to know. And it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, because I met some of my most favorite people who share my passion for books and reading…so here’s to us, and may we have more years of books and friends and fun and reading. :)
My first book discussion
Our book club has always done online book discussions because of the sheer number of people “in” the group. There are about 1600+ online members, all spread across the world, so meeting face to face is really unrealistic. But with the growing number of people who start attending our events, we decided to try out a face to face discussion for this year, to make our book club more like…well, a real book club and not just a group of friends who meet and talk about books and exchange books every other month. It started this year, and the first three face to face book discussions have been quite successful.
Okay, perhaps that title needs to be modified a bit — it wasn’t my first book discussion to attend. Being a moderator, I feel that I should be there at all discussions. April’s book of the month was the first discussion I moderated. So it’s really kind of a big thing.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the book of the month for April was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. A little discussion in the previous month had us predicting that Jane Eyre wouldn’t really sell as much among the members, being it as the thickest book that we have read as a group so far. It’s also a classic, and not everyone reads classics in our group. So I wasn’t really expecting the numbers of the book discussion to exceed the previous ones — I was imagining a pretty small group, one that would fit comfortably in a coffee shop.
Well, I was wrong.
There was a total of 28 attendees. The book discussion online was also one of the most active discussions, and I was just really shocked at how many finished reading the book and attended the event. One even went in costume (see picture above) despite the cruel summer Manila heat. It was also a happy coincidence that our book discussion was held on Charlotte Bronte’s 196th birthday, so it was almost like we were also having a birthday party for her.
Because of the number of attendees, I had to do something different for our discussion. I had to split the group into three, asked fellow moderators to help ask the questions, and then discuss it altogether again. Like what Monique said, there weren’t too many conflicting opinions, and the much-awaited burning between our own Bertha Mason – Edward Rochester – Jane Eyre – St. John Rivers didn’t happen (too many people! too hot! too fond of the book! etc, etc)…but overall, I think it was a pretty fun discussion. :P
Of course, after the discussion, we had dinner, talked like there’s no tomorrow, and even after that, some of us went to have our nightcap with a couple of drinks. I went home really tired, voice almost hoarse but very happy. :)
So now that April is winding down, I am also winding down. It’s been a busy month, but I didn’t regret anything. Next month we’ll have one of my favorite books for discussion, and there are more and more plans for our book club, as always. :) Our discussions have spanned not only from the threads, but on Twitter, too (you really should read some of our Twitter discussions :P).
I don’t know if it’s my need to be social that’s fueling this need to attend events like this. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s because these people have really become more than fellow book-club members but also you know, friends. :) Like what I said on my closing remarks during the anniversary: saying yes to that first invite is probably one of the best decisions of my bookish life, and I hope that the others think that way, too.
Here’s to more discussions, meet-ups and anniversaries to come. :)