This morning, I am listening to this interview with Colson Whitehead talking about The Underground Railroad on Fresh Air. Friday night and Saturday morning I reread much of the book because I was hosting a group of readers who wanted to discuss the book. We had trouble finding a time when we were all free--yesterday was the day. I suggested that we meet at my house instead of a place that serves coffee because it would be quieter, cheaper, and we could linger.
I wasn't sure what to expect because I only knew one of the people who came to my house, a woman from church. Her sister wanted to join us, and then her sister's friend from work. I thought they'd all arrive in the same car, but the friend came first. I was expecting a female friend, but he was male. After a few seconds of confusion at the front door, all went well.
It was so great to be with people who are readers and who understand the importance of books. We agreed that we were surprised by the brutality in the book, and that we were surprised by our surprise. We spent a lot of time talking about the beauty of the writing. My friend had actually written down the passages that moved her--and she read the book on her Kindle, so I find it interesting that she wrote down, with ink on paper, the parts she liked.
We talked about books too, books as physical objects (do we underline or not?) and books we listen to as we travel through the day. My friend listens to a lot of books on CD. She also recommended the website The Modern Mrs. Darcy. We talked about the 2017 reading challenge, which two of them are doing.
We lingered for over two and a half hours--it was a rainy Saturday morning and so perfect to enjoy coffee, donuts, and fruit--and a deep conversation about a book.
I ended the day by thinking about words in a different way. We went over to a different friend's house, and we played Scrabble after dinner. It was a friendly game, and we talked about what makes a difference in terms of tiles. Much of it is the luck of the draw, but it also helps to have a good vocabulary--and to remember how to spell.
It was the kind of day that left me grateful--and wishing for more. Having friends after age 50 is so different than having friends in college. I see people less often and almost none of my friends on a daily basis, the way I did in college, when we all practically lived together. It's harder to find a time when we're free. I want to believe that because our time together is limited we get to deeper conversation more quickly.