Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Crossing to Safety Revisited

It was many years ago when I joined my first book club. A group of teachers decided to read a book together and meet to talk about it.

While book clubs are very popular these days among adults and children, it was a new concept for some of us back then. There were probably a dozen of us who committed to read and meet to talk about our reading. 

We chose the book, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. 

Little did I know that my ideas about reading would change so drastically. 
Little did I know that this book would leave an indelible mark on my heart.
Little did I know that I would feel so connected to the other readers in our book club.

I recently read a string of books that were not very satisfying. I even abandoned one book because I just could not read another page! I also have been listening to recorded books on my phone. I have tried in the past but have not been very successful. My mind would wander away from the story, and I would have to go back a few pages, or even a chapter, to maintain the thread of the narrative. I am getting better at listening.

So I made a commitment to find a book that I knew I would love and try to listen to it on my digital device. I chose to revisit Crossing to Safety. It's interesting what I have discovered:

     I still love the story although now I am 30  
     years older and I am constructing a new 
     meaning to the narrative and responding 
     differently to the theme. 

     The story is a bit more melancholy now that I 
     am older and closer to the age of the characters.
     I am building a deeper connection to the 
     characters and their struggles.

     I can listen to a book digitally delivered and 
     can maintain my attention. I usually listen to 
     the story while I exercise at the gym. This has
     presented a new challenge because I want to   
     mark the text and write down my response - 
     which is difficult to do when you are on the 
     tread mill! I also want to remember my favorite
     lines and capture the well chosen words of 
     Wallace Stegner.

By choosing this book that had meant so much to me in the past and revisiting it at a later age, I have found a new connection and new meaning. I need to talk with those people who were in that initial book club.

What disappoints me the most is that I have listened to the story alone. Something is missing. The shared understanding. The conversations. The responses to the story as it unfolds. Friends talking about the book. I just may have to send out an invitation to get together over a cup of tea and talk about this book one more time.


Readingteachsu said...

I agree with all of this so much, I could have written it. Can’t find a book. Lik and long do ho much I love all my old book club books.

Ramona said...

I've been trying to figure out how to capture things I'm listening to. It's a challenge. I talked recently with a young millennial about some solutions, but they all seemed too involved for me to accomplish while driving. I've read this book twice (two different book clubs), but it isn't one of my favorites. Wonder how I might respond to the audio version.

fireflytrails said...

Thank you for a great book recommendation. You have piqued my interest.
I also have trouble listening to books, but your words have encouraged me to give it another try.
And I totally agree, that a book club conversation provides ALL the difference in making a book a part of your life. Great post!