Each month I get together with an amazing group of women. We have been meeting monthly for nearly seven years now. The group expands and retracts, one woman quits coming, another begins; but the core group remains the same. We laugh, we talk, sometimes we cry, we discuss, and we always eat amazing food (more about that later).
We are a book group, The Book Group, is, in fact, our semi-official name. Perhaps our most unique attribute is that you don’t necessarily have to have read the book to come. (Most of us usually do, but it’s not a requirement.) Over time, these ladies have become dear friends as we have shared month after month. Sometimes we talk nearly the whole time about the book we’ve read, how it affected us, and what we can take away from it. Sometimes only a handful of us actually read the book. But we talk about it for a few minutes, and then it’s on to discussing other books, what we’ve read lately, or what we want to read.
It’s a rare occurrence that everyone likes the book, but on rare occasions it does happen, and we know the book is a winner. We rate the books we read using a scale of 1 – 5 stars, and it is quite the thing when a book averages more than a 4.0 star rating. Opinions more often clash; and the wonderful thing is that it’s okay. I have watched women come into the group and gain a self confidence about expressing opinions, as a result of our discussions. I have watched empathy in action as discussions about a novel have given members the courage to share their real-life struggles with the group. I have felt that support myself! I have laughed until I’ve cried while listening to stories these women share about their daily lives as wives, mothers, and working women.
I love the ebb and flow of conversations, with several different topics being discussed at once among various women. What a wonderful thing for someone like me! I have loved books for as long as I can remember; and I love this place, with these women. It’s my happy place. Thank you ladies!
PS: Oh, the food (this is a cooking blog after all). Yes, we eat at every meeting. Whoever is hosting provides the food, and we’ve enjoyed an amazing variety of dishes from sweet to savory. This gazpacho soup is one of my favorites. Served with tortilla chips, it’s perfect for a summer meal. Enjoy.
Karina’s Gazpacho Soup
4 cups clamato juice
1/2 cup onions, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 c. green peppers, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Combine and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight.Add the following and chill until ready to serve:
8 tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
2 avocados, cubed
Serve with croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese.