I recently watched an interesting documentary and wanted to quickly recommend it to you. But first, a little backstory…
I bumped into someone I knew last Sunday evening and we got to talking on the subject of books. I had happened to like the past year’s women’s book club our church held this summer; she had not been so enthused over it. But she told me about a really good book she had finished that had her gushing. It was called “And Ladies of the Club,” by Helen Hooven Santmyer, a book that had taken the author all of her life to write. Apparently, it is a fictionalized account of a women’s book club spanning several decades.
Later this week, I decorated our Christmas tree. This may sound abnormal, but for the last three years I’ve made a tradition of finding time to watch documentaries as I decorate. It used to be traditional Christmas music, but seeing as how I am very particular and take many hours (or sometimes days) just trim our tree, the music gets annoying very quickly. So documentaries it is… While browsing my library’s hoopla (a new resource and worth checking to see if your library has it or something similar), I stumbled across a film simply called, “Book Club.” It happened to be the true life story of a group of dear women who had formed a book club early on in their young, married lives as a way to improve their minds. As the years passed, their club continued as new members arrived and others moved on. But always a core membership remained.
It was such an interesting story, and ironically reminded me of the book my acquaintance told me about (although the two are unrelated, as far as I know). A few things struck me about the documentary. I noticed was that when the film showed clips of the women reading passages from their favorite selections they read clearly, smoothly, and comprehendingly. Not choppy, disjointed, with ignorant pronunciation. This is because they had lifetimes of practiced skill. These ladies were well into their 80’s, and admittedly did not read as intellectually deep as they formerly had. Yet, they were still reading literary fiction, memoirs, and other books of depth. I believe this is because once their minds were used to quality reading, even at an old age they could not develop a taste for anything as fluffy as “Amish fiction” [yes, I’m ranting again!]. Comment was made on a few members’ determination to read books on self-improvement, though it may not make sense to the world at large why ladies of such an age would be. But the results were evident in that the women had a large love for life and many interests. It was not born overnight; their zest was began many years ago when they were still young. They had felt worn out, underappreciated, maybe a bit isolated at a time when many women did not work, the world was at war, and they had babies and husbands to take care of. But they deemed friendship and reading in community to be important enough to make the time and effort, and many emphasized that those things meant more to them than the books themselves.
It was interesting to hear of their different backgrounds, perspectives, and education. Not all of them were the reverent or pious grandmother you may expect, and in a way it was sad some of them obviously did not have the joy of Jesus Christ in their life. But part of a book club means learning from others that do not hold the same views as ourselves, I am learning. I hope you will become curious and inspired by watching “Book Club” just as I was!