I’m not sure there’s a good way, or a way at all, to prepare for your own book club reading your book.
Before we even moved into our house in Wilton, I joined a book club formed by a friend (Carrie) of a friend (Katie). For nearly three years, we’ve met monthly for coffee and catch-up, but also for earnest conversation about literature. We’ve read novels (A Place for Us, All the Light We Cannot See, Before We Were Yours), various nonfiction (Tiny Beautiful Things, Braving the Wilderness, Small Animals), and memoir (Becoming, Maid, My Life in France) … and now The Memory Sessions, which is, by my count, our 30th book.
To see The Memory Sessions in the hands of these women I’ve been talking books with for almost three years was, at first, a little daunting. But we fell into our old routine, Carrie presenting questions to the group, members building on responses and learning new things about each other. We discussed how our childhood memories inform our parenting, what our own children may remember as they grow up in an age of intense social-media documentation, what of our childhoods we wish we could remember, the difference between accuracy and truth in memory, and more.
To make this an event, Katie, in her thoughtful way, orchestrated a jar full of love notes to the book, nestled among long strips of tissue paper inked in with excerpts.
She also had a stunning cake made of the cover, with resonant quotes iced around the sides.
On the way home, I stopped at the store where Katie had ordered the cake so I could thank the cake designer in person. She said that while icing those words, she thought about her own childhood memory. One driving motivation for getting this book into the world was to invite conversation about childhood memory; and there I was, talking about childhood memory with a cake designer in a grocery-store aisle.
Cake rules in our house. Mom’s book on a surprise cake? Minds and tummies blown. This morning, one said, “Mommy, I think I had the ‘ORY’ for dessert last night.”
To Katie and Carrie and all the lit-loving ladies who made this club member feel like a million, thank you.