Bookish update plus the Outgoing Introvert

I usually tweet my #FridayReads, the meme started by Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven), so I thought I’d let y’all know what’s cooking on the reading front this week here as well.

I’ve done my first dive in to The Novel: A Biography. I’ve read the Prologue and most of the Introduction and it’s absolutely terrific reading. Once I get to the first chapter (Literature is Invention), I’ll also be picking up The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, noted by the author as being the first English not-quite-a-novel (but a constant narrator and more of a memoir/travel book.) (It’s free at the link as, written in the 14th century, it’s well out of copyright.)

I’m halfway through Inside by Alix Ohlin. I heard Ohlin read at IFOA a couple of years ago and purchased her book based on that. But never got to it. So far so good, and I hope to finish it this weekend.

On the audio front, I started listening to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This is for one of the Winter Reading Challenge at Roundtable on Goodreads, and is referenced in The Novel’s chapter title Impersonation.

I have yet to dive in to The Brothers Karamazov, although if I don’t want to get hopelessly behind in the group read, I should pull it out tomorrow. Or rather boot it up. This is one of those cases where my paper copy’s print was too small for me to read comfortably so I ended up buying a copy of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation for my Kobo. They did a fabulous job on Anna Karenina so I’m hoping Brothers will be good too.

The Outgoing Introvert

This article from the Globe and Mail kinda sums up my project/non-resolution around meeting more people IRL. (It’s well worth a read, if you think you might not have enough community time, and I don’t mean your family or work community.) While I have benefitted incredibly from meeting people online, particularly when I was out of the country for five years, it made me do a bit of a mental inventory of the places where I am part of a community outside of my family. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much less shy and more outgoing. (“Shy” you say, incredulously, those of you who have met me in the past five to ten years? In truth, I used to have trouble ordering a pizza by phone.)

My communities:

Choir: an absolute necessity in my life. My last two choirs (Toronto and Atlanta) have been associated with my parish. Plus a summer choir that was Catholic but not parish-based. When I lived in Ottawa, I was part of a community choir. I love crave the chance to sing on a regular basis. I meet people of all ages, different religions (or none), knitters, readers, professional musicians, students, vegans, retired people, professors, writers) who all come together to seek beauty in the combination of voices.

Book club: While the club started out with mainly people I know, we’ve branched out and I’ve had a chance to meet fascinating people who have a common love of reading and talking about literature. We’re one of the few book clubs that I know about that includes both men and women and I find that this makes for a somewhat more interesting vibe. We’ve also started an annual low-stress December meeting where, rather than read a book to discuss, we each bring a book that we’ve loved to introduce to the rest of the group. This is a great way to get to know each other a little better.

Genealogical meetings: I used to volunteer quite actively but have had to give that up in the past couple of years. I don’t know many people at the events so sometimes I don’t talk with many people, but I”m travelling to Salt Lake City with a group in February and will get to know some of the local people better.

The Salon: In years BC (before children), we held a reasonably regular “salon” where we invited friends who were interested in smart discussion to talk about topics. Wine and nibblies and a moderator. Sort of like a book club but not on a book. I’d love to do this again and have been mulling over format, topics, and logistics. I even have a spreadsheet somewhere….

So, where is your community? Do you have one? Do you need one?

Your thoughts?

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