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Last night was eagerly anticipated by our book club members. Each summer the July meeting is held at Loretta’s charming home in a quaint suburb just north of the city. We spend the evening eating, drinking and chatting in her back yard, a little enclave of gardens, trees and fireflies. Book club meets every other month at different members’ homes. A light dinner is served and lots of wine is imbibed (my husband refers to it as wine club) as we discuss the book and make our next selection.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was the evening’s topic, and the story’s obvious and intentional Hamlet framework started off the discussion. To set the stage, Maureen read a quick synopsis of Hamlet. Everyone agreed that some serious editing might have helped the flow of the book. And although it wasn’t an uplifting read, it was generally deemed interesting and worthwhile.

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The group has been in existence for close to 20 years I think. It has spanned relationships, growing children, grandchildren, exotic travel, life-threatening and chronic illnesses, job losses, retirements and more. I was fortunate enough to stumble into it about 11 years ago when I was new to the city and volunteering at a women’s shelter. Gail, another volunteer I’d never met before, mentioned her book club and I said I had always thought it would be fun to belong to one. She said that they had just lost a member and she would ask about inviting me. Kismet for me! How fortunate to be welcomed by this intelligent, eclectic group of women who had known each other for years. An added bonus is the inside scoop we sometimes get from Mary Beth who frequently escorts authors when they are in town on book tours.

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The group started out as all women (about 8 total) and fiction only, and evolved to include two spouses and recently non-fiction books. Originally we collaborated at the end of the evening in a lively discussion of what to read next. But since some people’s taste in literature was getting overlooked, we changed the format a few years ago. Now we take turns offering choices of at least two books for the rest of the group to decide from. Our next selection is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout.

When I walked into Loretta’s yard I thought what a great picture this would be, realizing at the same time I had forgotten my camera. I could have kicked myself from here to China. So, the photos here are from my cell phone. I’m proud to say I figured out how to download the pics to my computer!

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