Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Talk Time - Ssh...I've been having an affair

We're delighted to have Jennifer Hayward here at the Pink Heart Society, talking about her affair with her book club...

Ssh… I’ve been having a passionate affair for over thirteen years. There’s always wine and good conversation involved. Sometimes it’s angsty and sometimes there’s humour in our encounters. But I always leave satisfied. Happy. Even my husband approves! Sometimes a girl’s just got to do what a girl’s got to do.

I am talking, of course, about my over-a-decade long affair with my book club. Thirteen years ago some friends and I, some of whom I was close to and some who were newer friends, inspired by Oprah took the plunge and decided to gather once a month to read great books. Our first was A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. A stunning book. 

We added members, lost a couple due to attrition, but somewhere soon after that, we settled on eleven of us. Eleven women from PR people to writers to school teachers to financial consultants to jewelry designers, who meet once a month at each of our houses for wine and book talk. We are all busy, some of us travel a great deal, but the first Wednesday of every month is sacrilegious for us. We’ve travelled through snowstorms and blackouts to get there, we take taxis from client events and arrive late just so we can touch base. That’s how special it is.

Yes there is lots of wine involved and we actually thought about setting a timer at one point to ensure our debate of the book isn’t swallowed up by the stories we have to tell. But how many other times in life would a love affair like this last for thirteen years? We’ve been through divorces, marriages, babies and career crises. But that’s the thing – we are there for each other. I know I could pick up the phone and call any one of these ten women and they would drop what they were doing if I needed them. And likewise.

Maybe it’s the philosophical discussions that we’ve had about books that has created the amazing bond we have. But no subject is off limits. We confess our biggest trials and tribulations with each other with brutal honesty because we know there is no judgment – only unconditional support. How many places can you do that?

We call each other when we’re being a pain in the butt, dramatic or otherwise annoying. We celebrate our victories. We nurse our defeats. And as for our book debates? What I love is there is rarely ever consensus. It’s taught me as an author that books are so personal. What one loves, another dislikes. But we always appreciate the journey.

What I love most about the books we read is discovering the ones I never would have picked up of my own volition. The story of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Loving Frank, which was absolutely compelling.  

Family Pictures by Sue Miller about a family who discover their boy is autistic and the pressures that tear the family apart, a story which has haunted me ever since reading it. 


And my all-time favourite, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (I won’t tell you the story of this brilliant book cause it will ruin it, but if you haven’t read it, do!) It’s a book club legend.

I really can’t imagine my life without these ten women in it. I don't want to. When I go to bed with a smile on my face after the first Wed of the month and wake up the next morning with the same thing – I feel very very lucky to have been blessed with this group. Oh and…thank you Oprah.


To find out more about Jennifer Hayward and her books, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can read the prequel story to Jennifer's kickoff book for Harlequin Presents Society Weddings series, Society Wedding Secrets, online at Harlequin's website.

9 comments:

  1. I would like to thank Oprah too - not for the book club inspiration (though your BC sounds great), but for the film SELMA which I've just seen and which is unbelievably moving. Feel completely humbled by it, and thoroughly recommend.

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    1. I love your film recos Sharon! American Hustle was great. :) Must see Selma!

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  2. Time flies when you're having fun and making dreams come true! Can't wait for the next 13 years Jen! xoxoxoxo Lizzy

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  3. An amazing group indeed. As the last addition to the group, I feel blessed. I am always amazed at how 11 strong, talented, and oh so busy women come together once a month to share their lives and celebrate a mutual love of reading. A rare gift.

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    1. The eleventh spot was reserved for you Cristina! xx

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  4. Thank you Liz for inviting me to join book club. I have so many wonderful memories, experiences and books as a result of this great group of women. I keep a copy of our list of books that I share. I always get told what a fantastic list.

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    1. Oh yes Catherine! The list is available.... Wouldn't be the same without you!

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  5. What a lovely early Valentine, Jen. I love being part of our Book Club family. x

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