When we moved to this tiny town three years ago, one of our first stops was the library. We are a book-ish family, especially my 14-year-old daughter who canNOT get enough to read. (We are a bit of the Tortoise and the Hare, her and I, with regards to our reading speeds.)
We pulled into the library and piled out of the car. Is this the right place? It says Town Hall on the front of the building…oh, there’s another entrance to the side. Yes, the Library and the Town hall share a building — and it is about the size of your average Dollar General.
It is the tiniest library I have ever patronaged. And I love it.
We’d been going for sometime before I discovered the Friends of the Library (yes, there’s a committee of locals whose mission is to support the library and its active programming) via a flier on the table.
It said Book Club.
I’d never been to a Book Club before…but it looked pretty awesome in The Jane Austen’s Book Club. I asked Rich, our ever-present and helpful librarian, who puts up with my chatty-Cathy nature with professional grace, about this Book Club.
Rich was happy to tell me all about it, and I have been a part of the Friends of the Library Book Club for almost two years now. We meet every other month, having all read the current book selection, and discuss the current read with enthusiasm.
This month the selection was Tilda’s Promise by Jean P. Moore.
Occasionally the Friends of the Library group brings in an author for a meet-and-greet style event and this evening Moore was with us to discuss her book with us!
Jean arrived and greeted Rich. I approached and introduced myself, explaining that I’d be doing a write-up for our local newspaper where I have a column every week. I was a bit nervous, I must admit, wanting to be professional, but also wanting to barrage her with questions about writing!
I gave her a business card and she gave me her email so I could follow up with some questions for her.
The conversation around Tilda’s Promise was stimulating. People shared their thoughts on the book, about their personal grief, and about their thoughts on gender-confusion. It was a beautiful thing to talk about the book while having input from the actual author of the book.
Tilda’s Promise is a novel that deals with heavy subjects in a tender way, with characters that are well-developed and knowable. Tilda herself is an empathetic and strong woman that I found to be both likable and inspirational. She is not a particularly religious woman and she’s dealing with the terrible grief of the sudden loss of her husband, and doing so while dealing empathetically with the difficult life circumstances of those around her.
You will remember her journey.
I found the book to be most similar in style with Eat, Pray, Love, although the protagonist in each book handled their grief differently — both were on a quest of self-discovery and healing. I found the pacing of the book to be a bit on the slower side, to allow for the story to be told in real-grief time, giving time for the characters and their stories to unfold, deepen.
Dr. Moore was, herself, an empathetic, genuine, thoughtful soul. Her kindness and openness about her writing were touching to me. I asked her how she preferred to write and she described how she used Word for her writing, emailing segments of it to herself for safe keeping and to guard against document loss.
I enjoyed hearing her describe how the characters of her book lived in her head while she was writing. How she cried with them.
She expressed a joy about coming to book clubs such as ours, and being reminded that we are still a nation of readers that love to come together and discuss books.
I hope that if you are not a member of a book club that you will find one. This nostalgic activity could be just what your soul needs on your reading journey to add a richness that cannot be matched. I am so grateful that I got my introverted self to step out of my comfort zone and into the conversation.
I encourage you to do the same.
Writer "Jean P. Moore is a fine storyteller. She writes about the push and pull between the generations, and about loss…
Thank you for reading and for reading. Books are a gift. Read them hungrily.
Christina Ward is a poet and aspiring author working on her first book, a piece of literary, mainstream fiction. She is a columnist for the Observer News Enterprise newspaper. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Catawba College in Environmental Science, which greatly influences her work. She also studied creative writing and English at Catawba. Her poetry has been published in the Cameo literary magazine, the Arrowhead literary magazine, Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine, and in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine. She was also a featured poet here: https://wolffpoetry.com/march-poet-spotlight-christina-ward/#respond
She lives in rural North Carolina with her family.