Monday, May 23, 2011

Bonding through Books

By Pamela

The common bond between the six of us at What Women Write is obviously our writing. But I’m pretty sure, had our paths crossed by other means, our love of reading would have cemented our friendship as well.

I feel extremely blessed to have so many amazing friends. Some I’ve met through my children’s activities. Others I’ve known since grade school and we keep in touch through Facebook. But one core, significant group of my friends bonded over books.

When I moved to the St. Louis area while my boys were starting grade school, I met a great mom named Wila while volunteering. She moved on, as many people did in that area with it being home to an air force base, and then, coincidentally, I met the woman who bought Wila’s house the first day of the next new school year. Sonya and I connected immediately. A vivacious redhead, she chatted easily with me, and soon we found we both attended the same university in Indiana. She had a boy named Ben; so did I. She had an older son in my other son’s class. Like me, she liked to sew…and bake…and read.

Soon afterward, we formed a book club with her neighbors and some friends of mine. Here’s a list of what we read—some classics, others best-sellers, still more that members suggested--a collection as unique as the women who attended.

  • September, Patty Jane’s House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
  • October, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • November, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • One of our early meetings--at Sonya's house.
  • December, The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • January, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • February, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  • March, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty White
  • April, Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende
  • May, Bald in the Land of Big Hair by Joni Rodgers
  • June, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • July, Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
  • August, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • September, White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • October, Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg
  • November, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • December, The Christmas Train by David Baldachi

Racing for the Cure together in St. Louis.
  • January, The Nanny Diaries by McLaughlin & Kraus
  • February, The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • March, At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  • April, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • May, Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik
  • June, Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg
  • July, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish
  • August, Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  • September, Sins of the Seventh Sister by Huston Curtiss
  • October, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • November, Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • December, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

  • January, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • February, The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  • March, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  • April, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • May, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • June, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • July, Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck
  • August, A Widow for One Year by John Irving
  • September, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • October, Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman
  • November, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Getting together in St. Louis again in 2009.
  • December, Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

  • January, Myth of the Welfare Queen by David Zucchino
  • February, Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward
  • March, Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
  • April, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  • May, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  • June, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • July, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosselini
  • August, The Midwife’s Tale by Gretchen Moran Laskas

Taking a cooking class in Savannah this past April.
Forty-eight meetings later, I said my good-byes and moved to Texas. But before I left, I'd forged a bond with these women that time and distance has not broken. Today, they still hold a very dear place in my heart. And even though it’s now been nearly six years since I tearfully sat through my last discussion, nearly everyone of us still stay in touch—via Facebook and in person on our annual excursions, some pictured here.

Just this spring five of us met in Savannah, home to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Not a book we read as a club, but a book we’d all read prior to meeting each other. We ate, we shopped, we talked into the wee hours of the night about many things, but still about books. Always about books. It’s part of what binds us still.


  1. Wonderful friends and memories. Thanks Pamela!

  2. You're welcome, Sonya. Best thing? More memories still in the making!


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