About four years ago, I started a book club. I thought it would give me the opportunity to commit to a book and follow it to the end. (I'd fallen into the bad habit of starting novels but not finishing them.) Thirty people showed up the first couple of meetings. People were really excited about it, which I guess isn't that surprising. L.A. is full of storytellers, and they all love talking about good stories.
As time has gone on, we've dwindled down to a core group of 10 or 12 people, which is perfect. That's large enough to keep the conversation going, and small enough to give everyone a chance to talk. In the past year or so, we've read Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full
and The Hours
, by Michael Cunningham. Some people in the group had also read Mrs. Dalloway
, the Virginia Woolf book that inspired The Hours
—that was a great night's conversation.
The hardest part of the book club is choosing the next month's selection. Sometimes a book jumps out, and miraculously, we settle on a title very quickly. But usually it takes a little longer. We've learned the hard way that a book has to be somehow provocative. Otherwise, like with some of the lighter fiction we read last summer, we don't have that much to talk about. Sometimes someone will make a great pitch for a book—and their enthusiasm is contagious. (Then we go to the computer to see how many pages it is.)
The beauty of our group is that there's no pressure. You just show up and talk to people about all these amazing stories. I love it!
Marg Helgenberger was nominated for an Emmy last year for her role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
What's on Marg's Bookshelf? Read more!