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No wine and cheese — but library book clubs teach life lessons

The ladies in my library book club are the original composters. Growing up on farms, they let no waste go unused.

The ladies in my library book club are the original composters. Growing up on farms, they let no waste go unused. These hardy women recycled, canned, made their own clothing and ate organics. While I consider myself an aspiring ecological guru, I have to hand it to folks whose very nature is to preserve and protect. 

From a young age, the book club ladies learned the basics of living a “green” life.  As a 20-something adult, I find myself having to learn the hard way. It isn’t easy to reverse the dispensable nature of modern living. Yet, my book club confidants seem to know the secrets, and aren’t shy in sharing.

The “farm ladies,” as I affectionately call them, have vigor for libraries and book groups (some belong to two or three). We have trudged through books that were safely chosen for our clientele, like “Back When We Were Grownups” by Anne Tyler, and have walked moral tightropes with “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman. 

The conversations often lead us back to our roots — farm life for them, and suburban Minnesota for me. It is during these discussions that I can truly reflect on the uniqueness of our group. Thanks to the library, we have a place for folks of any age and background to come together and hash out the world.

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It was during a discussion of “The Persian Pickle Club” by Sandra Dallas that a chord was struck. Dallas’ book featured a small-town quilting circle, where women of all ages banded together to support one another. My farm ladies pointed out the lack of social opportunities for different generations to come together and learn from one another. 

While I am sure there are still sewing circles in practice, I just haven’t found the same spirit of generational crossover as in the past. As I looked around our modest circle, I was happy to see that many age brackets were represented.    

Aside from the fruitful discussions, I learned how to can tomatoes, lay out quilt squares, and how the “can-do” spirit of a farm lady can solve any predicament. Forget the wine and cheese, library book clubs can offer no-nonsense discussions — and can help to form relationships that fuel the mind, soul and Mother Earth to boot.