Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Joined A Book Club

I've always wanted to become a member of a book club.  I've heard of these seemingly elusive groups who choose a book, read the book, and then get together to discuss the book.  Since moving to Florida I've been hard pressed to find one to fit my needs.  Oh they are here, but remember, this is Florida, and there are only about 25 of us in the entire state who work a full-time job.  The sad realization that I came to very quickly after settling in, is that most things in Florida revolved around that giant group of folks called retirees.  Yeah, them.

There are tons of clubs and activities, but they are held during the day when the Seniors can stay awake, drive to in relative safety, and work around their meals.  I asked a local librarian one time if she knew of any evening book clubs, and she looked at me like I was a creature straight out of Mos Eisley Cantina (calm down, Han shot first - well, now who the hell knows now that George Lucas has gone all squirrley on us as of late and said that it was never like that.  Doesn't he know that there is an entire generation of us who are now going to need therapy?  I digress...)  This librarian couldn't seem to wrap her head around the fact that I was a bit miffed that there were so few activities being held after 5 pm.  

Through some savvy internet searching I found a book club about 20 miles from home.  It was a squeeze to get there on time, and the few times I went there were only one or two people attending, and the last time I was all alone.  Granted I really enjoy my own company, but book clubs are boring as a Party of One.

Last month, the love of my life and I weaved our way through the streets of Crystal River and enjoyed the annual Manatee Festival.  When our feet were tired, we popped into a really cool local pub called Burkes of Ireland to grab a cold beer.  There on the wall behind the bar was a note that said "Books & Beer".  Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Books AND beer?  They sky opened up and I could hear the Angels sing!  Books & Beer.

People who know me well, know that I love to read and that I love beer - not necessarily in that order.  Could this really be true?  I asked the bartender, and absolutely it was true!  (happy, happy dance)  He directed me to the end of the bar where I met the leader of this group.  I was so in!  I was so there!  Books & Beer!  Life in the Sunshine State just got sunnier!

I grabbed the book a little late and got about 25% of the way through it, but still attended the club meeting.  I figured it would be nice to hang out, drink beer, and meet some new people and see if this book club was something that I wanted to continue with.  I arrived, grabbed a pint of Harp from the bar and headed outside.  About 13 of us sat in a circle around a couple of tables, there were introductions, there was food, and there was intelligent conversation about the book.

I think what I liked most was that not everyone agreed with the conversations and opinions about the book.  No one stomped their feet and crossed their arms because someone had a differing opinion.  It was like a group of adults got together for the sole purpose of one thing - discussion about reading.  Hmmmmm, what a novel idea.  Who the hell am I kidding, I like the beer the most!

I will most definitely attend Books & Beer at Burkes of Ireland again.  It was a great group of men and women who all have one thing in common - reading.

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