Top Five: Best of My Summer Reading 2021
That's Me In the Corner

Read With Us: The Wrap-Up

Usually, after we've read our latest Read With Us book selection and finished up the discussion, Bonny, Carole, or I will write up a wrap-up post to share. A way to kind of . . . bring closure to that book; to put it to bed, so to speak.

Well.
It's my turn this go-round.
And I wrote the post.
And then, somehow, it got "lost" in the blogosphere.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to write it again.

RWU Summer Logo

So consider this . . . a different kind of Read With Us wrap-up post!

After our Zoom book discussion last week, I got to thinking about . . . just that: Our Zoom book discussion. Because back when we launched Read With us -- in the fall of 2019(!) - that phrase, even the concept of some sort of online discussion, was never part of the plan.

But, of course, along came Covid . . . and now most of us are completely accustomed to and comfortable with Zoom gatherings and meetings. (I would say that being able to meet up with people across any distance is actually one of the silver linings of the pandemic.)

What's happened with Read With Us . . . is that the Zoom book discussion has evolved to become a "real" book group (without the wine). We come together to discuss a book we've all read . . . and we sign off with a deeper understanding about that book. Sometimes we see things a little differently after the discussion. Sometimes we like the book even more -- and sometimes we like it less. Things make sense in new ways. We ask questions. We share thoughts. It's a communal experience, for sure. (And that's something we can all use more of these days.) Our discussions - about the book and about life - are engaging and interesting. And becoming more so with each meet-up.

We also laugh a lot. 

And while we do have a core group of Read With Us stalwarts regularly participating in the Zooms, the group is fluid and accessible and welcoming. If you have felt hesitant or somewhat intimidated about joining our Zoom discussions, or if you're not sure what it might be like to be part of a book group, I'm here to encourage you to give it a try! We don't have intellectual, literary discussions. We don't put anyone on the spot. We just speak from our hearts . . . and listen to each other.

We'll be announcing our next Read With Us selection soon, so stay tuned!

(And in terms of a wrap-up of Unsettled Ground? We all liked the book quite a lot, some more than others. None of us liked Dot - at all - and we all thought she was a terrible mother with some serious, untreated mental health issues. When it came to the supporting cast of characters, most of us were on "Team Saffron" -- but others were firmly on "Team Bridget." We all agreed that music and gardening elevated the book from the total doldrums of bleakness. And we were generally in agreement that the ending seemed . . . about right.) (Oh . . . and there was great relief that nothing bad happened to Jeanie's dog.)

Comments

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Bonny

Could it be possible that it's a good thing your initial wrap-up got lost? Because I really like this one! While your initial "bloggy book group" idea is a great one, Zooming in-person really does give it an extra dimension. It's so much nicer to see and hear each other, and listen and respond in real time. I know I gained a better understanding of Leave the World Behind, Shuggie Bain, and Unsettled Ground, and I think I appreciated them even more after the Zoom discussion.. (I liked Leave the World behind even less after we discussed it, but that was because Vicki pointed out some things I hadn't considered!) So hooray for Zoom, and we just have to provide our own wine!

Carolyn

I think 3 or 4 of us, at least, DID have our own wine. So I say dot the last i and cross the last t!
While I fully appreciate the frustration of The Lost Post (I lost an entirely edited document yesterday...what was up on Monday?!), I love what you wrote here, Kym.
I'm so glad my calendar--and the time difference--worked for me this time around. I have avoided book groups forever, for a variety of reasons--but a main one being the time commitment. I've heard so many [what I interpret as] horror stories of people losing HOURS to book club--and--here's the kicker, they hardly discuss the book! People show up who didn't even read it...book club turns into small talk...and I think I'd lose my mind. This format is not that. (In fact, I find myself wanting to stay longer!) I love the opportunity to connect face to face, voice to voice, with participants coast to coast. We can hop on late or leave early if need be (though I hate to do that!). It's a welcoming, gracious, good-humored, thought-provoking, smart space. I leave just a little differently than I came. Many thanks to you, Bonny, and Carole for making it happen.

Vera

Quite a nice wrap up Kym! I have not participated in the Zoom meetings because...I'm on the computer ALL day for work and have so MANY conference calls/WebEx Calls/Team meetings, etc. that the last thing I want to do at night is get on another call (of sorts). However, having said that, I may just need to give it a try (depending on what the next book is). You 3 have done a great job of bringing us together and a great job of picking books. Onward!!

Carole

Oh man, that stinks about the lost post - I am so sorry that happened! But your redo is perfect and I hope it persuades some who may be intimidated by our zoom sessions to join us. We are FAR from intimidating, there isn't an easier group to be with, I think!

Sarah

I continue to maintain that connecting with so many other readers (and knitters!) has been the best thing about this pandemic. I have never managed to join a real-life book group/club because it can be hard to find other people I know who read like I do (and I mean that in terms of both volume and choice of material), so it's been so wonderful to connect with this group and talk in depth about books. I can't wait to hear what the next selection is.

Also, what do you mean no wine?!

Patty

What you said! What everyone said. Always a great place to be. Thank-you Kym, Carole and Bonny! (Wine!)

Debbie

I was sipping on a glass of wine during our book talk! Thank you for a great wrap up & sorry you had to write it twice! A big thank you to you, Bonny, & Carole for choosing the books we read and leading the discussions with such interesting questions. At first session I was nervous to join in because I'm not a blogger, but now I look forward to the zoom discussions and I look forward to seeing what book you will choose next!

Caffeine Girl

Actually read Unsettled Ground so I could join but September got too busy with the Jewish holidays. I hope to participate in the next round!

kathy b

You make it sounds very inviting to join in!

Pam

Kathy b - You should come next time! Also - I need to rearrange my life so a glass of wine at 4 pm can be a thing ;-)

Kat

For everyone pondering if joining and being nervous about it... don't be. It is a welcoming group... so welcoming. And I have found the discussions have dramatically improved the book - even if I did not like the book!

I want to thank you all for moving Read With Us to Zoom... it was simply one of the brightest spots of the Pandemic!

Mary

I think this is a lovely wrap-up and I'm looking forward to the next selection ... and to gathering with y'all on Zoom to talk about it!!

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