Book Club Retreat 2009

Two weekends ago, I was at my fabulous book club's annual retreat. It was a very relaxing, refreshing and sometimes overwhelming time. We stayed in two air conditioned homes that were within a few minutes drive from Belknap Hot Springs on the Mackenzie River. It could not be more perfect for me to discuss books in the woods, near a beautiful river, with friends. There are twelve wonderful ladies in my book club, two of which could not attend our retreat. That made for ten book lovers, eight wine lovers, one beer lover and I was pregnant.

It seems that every one in our club also loves to eat delicious food and then discuss cooking delicious food for, what seemed to me, hours upon hours. I'm interested in many things. Cooking and talking about cooking can bore me. Not only that, the thought of food made this pregnant lady's stomach turn. At one point, I quietly excused myself while the food and cooking conversation continued. It was the discussion about mushrooms and then oysters that pushed me to my limit. Despite my queezie tummy, we all brought food, much of which was cooked up in kitchens at home, and it was all very yummy. I think we had enough food left over to fill twelve wicker baskets.

I've been a part of this book club for almost three years, but have never participated in the book choosing process. It was long, laborious and late, but we finally came up with these twelve books: ~
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Mr. Ive's Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Enemies, A Love Story by Isaac Boshevis Singer
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Mary Mcalsee the Outsider by Justine Mccarthy
Digging to America by Anne Tyler
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

It's very exciting to have a new list of books. I've started on the first and I like it so far. It's written in letter form which is interesting. I am especially looking forward to reading I Capture the Castle and Brideshead Revisited since these have been recommended to me in the past.
One very sad point during our retreat was the news of the passing of a dear friend to most of the ladies present. Catherine was the music director at our church and a large part of our lives. The news floated through our happy party in waves. Tears spilled over in our eyes and together we prayed and remembered our dear friend. It was so touching and uplifting to be together at a time of such loss.
There were some other notable moments which included: walking the grounds and gardens of the Belknap Lodge on the Mackenzie River, going to mass at St. Benedict's (at small retreat center out in the woods along the river), and rafting down the Mackenzie with my mom and one of our friends (I have pictures but can't find them). What a blast! I can't wait until next year. I won't be pregnant, but I will be toting a four month old baby. At least I'll be able to eat and enjoy it! Maybe I will even participate in the cooking discussions....there's still hope for me.

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