Silver Linings: Reading is ‘easy’ in online book club

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Farmington native Jean Worthley holds a copy of “Where the Line Bleeds”, which has been read by her book club.

Oprah did. Just like Reese Witherspoon, The New York Times and Jean Worthley.

They have created online book clubs.

I broke my vow to never join a book club (I like to choose my own readings) when Jean, a friend from high school, contacted me on Facebook. I was thirsty for social contacts and I thought that at my advanced age it was time to broaden my literary field.

I’m not alone.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, book clubs grew in popularity as people were stuck at home, according to Bustle.com.

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Bustle quoted The New York Times as reporting “a significant spike” in #bookstagram content on Instagram.

And according to Forbes.com, a free site called Bookclubz has seen its following grow 26% since March 1. It added 2,000 new clubs in one month, for a total of 12,000 clubs with 50,000 members worldwide.

The club I joined is much smaller, less than a dozen people, but we are all passionate about reading and sharing our views. Many of us graduated from Mount Blue High School in Farmington around 1975-76.

Jean named the club Easy Readers, after Morgan Freeman’s character on the PBS show “The Electric Company” (most of us are in our 60s, so we remember it well).

“Easily read anything in sight, including matchbooks, just for fun,” Jean said.

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It is also his first book club.

She started it because a friend’s husband had serious health issues and needed to be quarantined to avoid contracting COVID.

“She dreaded the isolation she would face during the winter,” Jean said. “We both like to read, so I suggested starting a book club.”

It took.

We are on our fourth book this year. “Easy” also refers to the leisurely pace.

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We take turns choosing. Jean chose “Winter Sisters” by Tim Westover. Member Daniel Woodward, a classmate of Jean, chose “Madame de Treymes” by Edith Wharton. I chose “Where the Line Bleeds” by Jesmyn Ward and Susan Neo, another friend from high school, chose “Daemon” by Daniel Suarez. We are reading this now.

Susan agreed to revise these books for me:

“’Winter Sisters’ was a light and enjoyable read with insight into early settler life. It had all the components that I find necessary: ​​mystery, romance and humor.

“Winter Sisters” by Tim Westover Amazon.co.uk

She found Wharton’s novel a more difficult choice.

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“I waded through prosaic writing and high societal indirectness and felt very disappointed in the end.”

She described my choice as “a slow, rambling take on the black, low-income experience of the South that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen. It could help many gain empathy for “walking a mile” in their shoes. »

Susan’s choice, “Daemon” (pronounced demon), is a technological thriller that I would never have chosen on my own. Despite the “mansplaining”, it’s a refreshing change with a quick plot.

“Demon” by Daniel Suarez Amazon.co.uk

Although she started the club simply to cheer up a friend, Jean found it to be a rich experience.

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She likes to share ideas, see things from other people’s perspectives and she reads more closely now, she said.

“I appreciate how the club continues to evolve through member input,” she said. “I absolutely read books that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own. It’s refreshing to get out of my usual genres. I’ve had the chance to meet a few new people and get to know some old friends from around the world. a different way.

New members are welcome.

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