If there’s one thing you should know about me, out of all the many things that you could know about me, it’s that I love to read. And not just a love like how you love minor sports teams or bacon or even babies of nearly-forgotten high school friends. But a love that I rarely – if ever – have shared with a human being. One that encompasses nearly every aspect of my life, from work to play to everything in between. If you ever see me without reading material, I must a) really trust you to entertain me for an entire evening, or b) have finished a magazine recently and didn’t plan accordingly.
I’m not kidding when I say it is all encompassing. My life is books. My day job is running book clubs on college campuses. I volunteer predominantly with two organizations. One collects books and hands them out at least once a month to an unassuming public. The other plans literary pub crawls, for the same unassuming public (YOU’RE WELCOME, UNASSUMING PUBLIC). At my church I sell books and run a book club focused on the expression of the Christian faith in fiction. And all of this started with a book club I started when I first moved to New York City seven years ago. I have a Kindle, the local librarian knows me by name, and my bookshelves recently cracked from the weight of so many books. Oh, and I’m working on a master’s degree, so I read a lot for that. And then there’s the internet, which is a whole new world of reading. It is a surprise to no one that my email signature is a William Faulkner quote, “Read, read, read. Read everything.” Because I certainly believe it.
At this point you may ask, why? Why share all of this and be such a bookworm? Well, I firmly believe that reading is a privilege. Generations of our forefathers could not read, either because they were not taught or it was not a component of surviving life. It is an action that separates us from every creature on earth. It allows us to relate to our past, interpret the present and prepare for the future. Reading is the most effective and efficient way to convey our detailed thoughts, memory and opinions. Be it fiction or nonfiction, essays or poems, epic stories or even song lyrics, the written word is essential to life on earth.
All of that to say, let’s start a book club here on the Wheelhouse! I’ve been attempting to write more reviews on the books I have read, and this seems like the perfect medium to do so.
So here are the rules. Every month we’ll pick a book to read as a Wheelhouse community, as well as the day we’ll meet here to discuss it. I’ll write a review, and you will contribute your thoughts via comments. Mmkay?
To start, I’ll pick the first book. And since my book club is already reading it, I’ll choose Lush Life by Richard Price. It’s a mystery story that also looks at the problems and pitfalls of gentrification on the Lower East Side. We’ll meet here on the Wheelhouse on June 6 to discuss what we thought about the book.
Do you have suggestions for what book we’ll read next? Leave a note in the comments! And if you agree with the book choice submitted in the comments, then voice that opinion as well! Last time I checked this was a democracy, people. You can help choose the book you want to read in an anonymous online community. It is your constitutional right!*
My life is books, and I love my life. Looking forward to our first book discussion next month!
*Not actually guaranteed by any government.