The Power of Book Club

I had always loved the idea of a book club but never actually wanted to be a part of one. Theoretically I liked the idea of being a member of a team gathering together to discuss my first true love ~  A good old fashioned book. But the reality of being told what to do and the same as everyone else, to follow a crowd AND to read to a timescale? NAH. Wasn’t for me I’m afraid. Couldn’t do it. Far too stubborn.

Then one Summer a discussion fuelled by alcohol and liked minded women arose surrounding the need for not just a book club but a book, culture and arts kind of club. A need to regularly get together with similar folk who had all reached the same point in their lives. More was wanted from an evening’s catch up and discussing literature, exhibitions, articles and films that were important, relevant as well as crap to us was now a necessary part of life. My interest was piqued! I can do this I thought to myself. Hell, I want to do this. This sounds like my idea of heaven.

And so on that beautiful balmy evening two years ago a group of women ceremoniously and drunkedly gave birth to ‘The Mills and Booth Book and Culture club’ {Founding members being Sarah Mills and Tessa Booth} of which I am a proud member. Not immediately managing to fall into line it did take me a good year to get used to the idea of being told what to read and by what date but I am now fully on board.  I love what it provides in my life and would heartily encourage others to set up similar clubs.

I have always been quite dismissive of large groups of women and tended to shy away from them due to the inevitable turning of topics to relationships, weddings and ‘When are you going to have a baby?’ questions.  I am not a fan of a hen do, a baby shower, a girls night out or a pamper session. When I had indulged in these overtly feminine experiences I was always astonished about the preparation, stress and traditions that accompanied them. The content of conversations, the gossiping about others {mostly other women} and the ceremoniousness that occurred was something I didn’t enjoy and so chose not to partake.

What I didn’t know then and what I thankfully know now is that it’s not the occasion that is the problem {Although I still can’t stand a hen do or a baby shower} but it’s the people involved. At ‘The Mills and Booth Book and Culture Club’ I am surrounded by interesting, intelligent, forward thinking, feminist women who have something to say and plenty to discuss. Their need to indulge in conversation about refugees one minute and dick size the next sits very well with me.  While two women are pregnant and the majority in a relationship these are topics that are only briefly touched  upon and the main bulk of our focus goes on discussing what we thought of the chosen book of the month, inspiring documentaries we’ve seen, TV that has changed our perspectives and current exhibitions that NEED to be attended. Those things as well as dick sizes.

Much to the surprise of myself, mostly, I have birthed another club off the back of ‘The Mills and Booth Book and Culture Club’ called ‘My Fabulous, Interesting Badass women club’. Having spoken about what energy my monthly arts meeting brings me to other women who I love and revere it made them want a slice of this joy making pie. They too wanted and needed that connection with women outside of their normal social circles which all too often had sadly been reduced to their work colleagues or ‘other mums’.

‘My Fabulous, Interesting Badass women club’ premiered to great success one night in November and bought together an actress and writer, a teacher, academic and mother, a commercial property developer, a nanny and a woman who’s job it is to cure cancer. Some women already knew each other, some knew only me. We discussed ISIS, sexual predators, giving birth, lying and fanny farts. I cooked, hosted, laughed, disagreed and planned the next time I would get similar women together.

My point here is be picky as you get older. Surround yourself with people who intrigue and interest you. People who choose to talk about ideas and plans rather than other people and salacious gossip.

They don’t have to all be female but in this historical time of women finally being listened to, believed and discovering they have shared experiences I think you’ll be amazed at what power comes from understanding those experiences.

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