Guest Post: The Wednesday Sisters Book Group by Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday Sisters Book Group

by Meg Waite Clayton

My friend Camilla Olson has this to say about our Wednesday Sisters Book Group: “I love that our book club parties together in the context of the neighborhood. It seems in California that things are either too spread out or too close, and neighbors become invisible. At first I was really intimidated by the club. After all, our first book after I joined was Madame Bovary!” And fellow voracious reader—and writer!—Rayme Adzema also loves the way the “geographical boundary” of the club strengthens the neighborhood.

When we first gathered almost five years ago now, though, we were not yet The Wednesday Sisters. Most of us did not know each other well—if at all. Relatively new to the neighborhood myself, I’d practically squealed when I was invited to join, but I remember feeling awkward walking to that first meeting. Would anyone I knew be there? Would I be able to call to mind the names of the few folks I had met? Why did I ever imagine this would be fun? I wasn’t even all that wild about the book!

It’s hard to believe now that I ever doubted anything about the Wednesday Sisters. I think the murky old ice shattered at our third meeting, with Anne Tyler’s The Amateur Marriage—by the end of which I was laughing so hard I was literally shedding tears at the stories of my fellow readers’ marriages.

Not that our husbands are anything to laugh at!

Okay, maybe they are. But then we ourselves are something to laugh at, too, which is all part of the fun, and part of the learning experience that goes on when we gather—although we don’t laugh at each other unless the subject of the laughter is laughing first; when I accidentally wore two different shoes to a meeting (hey! they were both black!) everyone kept their chuckles to themselves.

With House of Mirth, On Beauty, and The Senator’s Wife, we talked about women’s choices and self-image, sharing our own histories, our own dreams. When we read Reading Lolita in Tehran, we donned the bhurka Camilla brought, a little firsthand experience of that life so different from ours. For Madame Bovary, we gobbled Marie’s crepes. For Hunting and Gathering, we drank a lovely French wine and, yes, I think we did eat the entire tart and most of the cheese.

 The one thing that has been constant through all the books we’ve read—and I don’t think there has been a single book on which we’ve had a unanimous opinion—is that, as Jennifer said at a Memorial Day barbecue, “We do talk about the book!” Writing style and plot, simile, metaphor, point of view, and theme are certainly words in our vocabularies, and no meeting ends without reference to other books.

Actually, now that I think about it, there is another thing that has been constant: We root for each other. Whether it is attending Leslie Berlin’s first reading for her wonderful The Man Behind the Microchip, or applauding Rayme’s success in the Palo Alto Weekly short story competition, Adrienne’s photography, Camilla’s acceptance to her fashion program or Diana’s to Stanford’s Genetic Counseling  graduate school, we cheer each other on. The group has risen to support me again and again: reading my first novel; practically leaping at the name “The Wednesday Sisters”—the title of my not-yet-sold-at-the-time second novel; and now hosting the launch party for The Wednesday Sisters, which Random House/Ballantine is publishing next week.

There’s the wine, too. We always do serve wine. So I suppose there are three constants about us.

Or four: the laughter. Of course.

Five: … Oh, never mind! For a group of women linked initially only by geography, we turn out to be a pretty constant group of wonderfully-connected readers and friends.

Meg’s novel The Wednesday Sisters will be available on June 17th!  Her website is jammed with information for would-be writers, readers, and fellow book clubbers.  You can find it HERE.

You can read Meg’s Bio HERE.  To read an excerpt of The Wednesday Sisters, click HERE.  For a rave review from Trish at Hey, Lady! click HERE.

Meg, it was such a treat to hear about your book group.  Thanks for guest posting!

11 Responses

  1. I am one of the engineer/finance people in the book club and I am humbled every month when I come to book club. But I love it and I always learn something! What a fabulous group of women. And CONGRATS to Meg!!

  2. Meg – Great post! I too enjoy reading, spending time with the girls in my book club and of course discussing the books!

  3. Great post that gets to the heart of our–and many other–book clubs.

  4. Wonderful post! I LOVED The Wednesday Sisters (as Meg knows because I PM’d her on Library Thing!). I have yet to find a group of women in my neighborhood to connect with like this … I long for it! The next best thing is reading about someone else🙂

  5. Can’t wait to read your book Meg! Best wishes on success from a fellow LT er!

  6. Nice capsule of our group, Meg. I love our neighborhood group. Like Wendy said on 6/13/08 I didn’t think there were women in our neighborhood that I could connect with either. After a couple meetings, I found the women in our group diverse enough to stimulate great discussions.

    BTW, I loved reading The Wednesday Sisters. Such a fun read. It was full of nostalgic world events that I never realized happened in such a short time frame.

  7. Oh, all those books look really good!! I haven’t read most of them, but want to. I especially want to read the Wednesday Sisters!!!!! I have heard such good things about it!

    Yay for book clubs, have a great weekend!

  8. Thank you, everyone!

    And Wendy, I want to echo what Camilla said. We didn’t know we had a neighborhood so full of wonderful women until we started gathering over books. The books give us a focus and excuse to talk about something other than our children (though we talk about them too!) and how badly our street needs to be paved!

  9. So well said, Meg! I’ve learned so much about literature from this group, having come from an engineering and business background rather than literature and English. But mostly what I’ve learned is what a wonderful group of neighbors we have, and how much fun it is to spend time with everyone. I only wish I could attend more often! I look forward to the summer meetings.

    Meg, I loved reading The Wednesday Sisters. You made the characters real, and it was fascinating to imagine them living in my own neighborhood 40 years ago. (I never knew there was an old mansion at Pardee Park! And so much local political activity for women’s rights!) Because Frankie could have been my mother, I now think of my mom in a different light. I will be giving her your book!

  10. Check out my review of this book at http://www.breakingthespine.blogspot.com

  11. […] Guest Post: The Wednesday Sisters Book Group by Meg Waite Clayton « Books on the Brain […]

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