I went to my first book club meeting tonight, and it was brilliant. I've always wanted to be in a book club (with the amount of reading I do on a weekly basis, I could join five), but the opportunity never came about until now. Well, that's not completely true. A group of teachers at school started a book club two years ago, and I was excited about it... But I never attended a meeting. Why? Because they met after school at school-- and I spend enough time at school as it is.
It's also because I've come to the conclusion that I can't be friends with the people I work with (there are some notable exceptions to that rule, but sadly, very few). I wish I could, but I'm surrounded by the in-it-for-lifers (some of whom have been teaching at my school for twenty to thirty years), and all we have to talk about is work. I envy my friends who work with people their own age and grab a happy hour together and hang out, but for the moment, that is so not possible for me. Ah, well.
One of those very lucky friends, Liz, is the one who got me into this book club in the first place (it's made up of mostly people she worked with at her old job). As I mentioned in my last post, the book we were discussing was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a very poignant piece about what makes us human. The characters in the story grow up at a school where they are encouraged to be creative and appreciate each other-- like normal students-- but their ultimate purpose in life, what they are being raised for-- is much darker. (I'm not going to give it away in case you haven't read it, but trust me... It's upsetting but thought-provoking.)
We met at Elephant and Castle and enjoyed cider and English pub food while we discussed the book. I ate chips with massive amounts of vinegar in preparation for my U.K. trip next week and talked way more than I expected to-- sometimes I'm more shy in theory than in practice. The conversation went in fits and starts, but overall it was interesting to hear what other people thought about some of the issue Ishiguro brings up.
And then Jess and I rode home on the metro together and discussed her upcoming move... while two men took pictures of each other posing at the pole people use to keep themselves upright when the train stops suddenly. Yeah, I don't know, either.