From the Outside, In by Colleen Hanrahan | Vol. 12 No. 5 (March 7 2019)
In May 2017, I moved to Witless Bay. Though I had some connections within the community, it soon became apparent to me that I had to build a social network. Having been in a book club for 13 years in St. John’s I knew it is a wonderful way to develop relationships, share the joy of reading books, and have fun too.
By posting notices on bulletin boards in local businesses, I recruited a small group of readers and we have been meeting monthly since November 2017. Relying on book club kits borrowed through the public library, there is limited cost to participate. A wide variety of books are available which are listed on the website. Members discuss the list, make selections, a member collects the books and distributes them. Books are in our hands until the due date, usually six weeks later. Easy, thanks to our public library system.
There is a great variety and choice among the book selections. We have traveled around the world enjoying stories set in pre-revolutionary China, France and Germany during WW 11, the USA both the deep south and eastern seaboard, modern day Chile, and the 1920s in our own province Newfoundland and Labrador. All without having to set foot on a plane or boat.
Among our selections were books which stretched our minds and understanding of world events. Description of current events in Palestine was disturbing. Our next venture is into the denial of entry of Jewish refugees into this country, the Dominion of Newfoundland, after the Second World War. While we are aware of our good fortune to live where we do, we are reminded that not all are so lucky, and our need to appreciate the world around us.
We are becoming comfortable with one another. Our conversations lead to discussions of current events in Canada, this province, and on the Southern Shore. Although we have not had a raucous political discussion, it may be a matter of time. There are two elections scheduled for 2019. Maybe we can influence events, in a small way, for the betterment of our communities.
Hosting the meetings is a shared responsibility, as is providing food and drink for our meetings. All is not serious though. A shed party, complete with players of a guitar and accordion, was a highlight of the summer. Sitting around a bonfire within earshot of rolling ocean waves makes you ask, “How could this be better?” Answer. It cannot! Further, we enjoyed a Christmas celebration by having a potluck dinner before the rush of the season.
By taking a chance and reaching out, I am pleased to have the company of fellow readers, and importantly, a network of neighbours and friends.