Book Betties

The Betties

Dear friendly reader,

This past weekend my book club did its annual vacation. There are seven of us women — a fishery biologist, a retired accountant turned full-time poet, an attorney, a bookseller/novelist, a preacher’s wife who also runs a motorcycle leather shop, and two journalists. We are moms and wives, grandmothers and professionals. We are readers and writers, quilters and runners. We are the Betties.

(It’s a long, funny story that earned us that name. But some things that happen in book club, stay in book club.)

We first met about eight years ago to read and discuss Unless by Carol Shields. And we have met nearly every month since. During those years, we have discussed Candide and To Kill a Mockingbird, As I Lay Dying and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. During National Poetry Month, we read poems. Once a year, we read a children’s book and invite our daughters and sons.

Over the years, we have celebrated weddings and births, supported each other through hard times, and mourned deaths, including the passing of one of our own dear members. And, as we have shared our lives and our books, we have become more than just a book club. We have become what Anne of Green Gables describes as “kindred spirits.”

In past years on our annual retreat, we stayed in rustic, lake-side cabins and at deluxe ski resorts with spas. But this year we went to the home of one of our own, in what we call a “staycation.” A Betty husband chivalrously volunteered to go on an away trip so we could have the house, and outdoor sauna, all to ourselves.

We began with dinner at The Grape Tap, a lovely restaurant specializing in fine wine. We ate bacon-wrapped figs and sipped rich, multi-layered Cabarnets. Then, over the next two days, we hiked up a snowy butte, warmed up in the woodstove-heated sauna, laughed and made paper snowflakes, cooked crepes and scrambled eggs in the dark during a power outage, laughed some more, and debated the finer points of the graphic novel Feynman. We also began plotting our next Betty retreat — we are dreaming of a trip to California’s wine country.

Books, it seems, do bring people together.



P.S. Are any of you members of a book club?



9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah davis
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 10:55:14

    I work for Greenwich libraries in London as the reader development coordinator and I organise the library reading groups I belong to 2 of them and really value and enjoy sharing my love of literature with other readers. Your group sounds like fun. Best wishes Sarah

  2. twomomswhohikeinalaska
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 11:45:35

    What a beautiful post! It’s been an amazing eight years. Had such a great time with you and the other Betties last weekend! 🙂

  3. Melissa Behnke
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 12:02:32

    What a wonderful group of Betties you have! Book clubs are the best!

  4. Sally Coulter
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 12:13:00

    Your treasured club is similar to our bridge club or sometimes referred to as our No Bridge Bridge Club. I have been with them on a permanent basis for 25 years and on a substitute basis whenever I came to town for about 40 years. Stay together, as relationships are the only thing we can take to heaven.

  5. Sue Mathis
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 12:32:54

    As a Betty, some of my fondest memories include the times spent with our book club. I look forward each month to our night together, not only to discuss the book we’ve chosen, but to spend time with some of the finest women I know. Here’s to the Betty Book Club!! Cheers!!

  6. Betty Rachel
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 08:54:23

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Looking forward to many more trips and many more books!

  7. Trackback: Recipe for starting your own book club « Letters from Alaska
  8. Zoe
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 09:37:23

    What an inspiration! I’m just about to start a book club and if it’s half as good as this one I’ll be overjoyed. Thanks for sharing, I now have a vision of exactly what I want it to be. x

  9. Amy
    Jul 25, 2012 @ 09:47:23

    I’d like to think of myself as an “away” Bettie, lol. I miss you guys!

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