I am not going to pretend that I enjoy reading most types of literature. In fact, I am very limited in genres I enjoy reading, namely war and true crime.
So when I read about a virtual book club in Military Spouse Magazine, I figured it wouldn’t be something I’d be interested in.
It would probably be in the middle of the day, like most other spouse groups I have encountered, so that would rule us ‘working spouses’ out by default.
And even if it were scheduled at a time I could attend, I knew that the Book Club would probably not be picking a book about the worst serial killer in the Southwest, and I was unlikely to find discussing the seventeenth Twilight book very stimulating.
However, I was pleasantly surprised.
First off, the hangouts were after normal working hours.
Second, I knew that this was virtual and would allow me to interact with other spouses. And not only other spouses in my community, but around the world!
After three days of debating on the commitment, because I didn’t want to be the person that showed up not having read the entire book, I decided the social benefits strongly outweighed having to read what I assumed would be a cliché military love story.
I signed up and received my confirmation email and was once again pleasantly surprised to find out the book assigned was, “The Alchemist.” Furthermore, I wasn’t even required to read it beforehand, as Military Spouse realizes life sometimes gets in the way of pleasure reading.
I was nervous going in blind without reading the book, but logged in and waited for the hangout to start. BOOM! The hangout bubbles appear with the smiling faces of the hosts for the evening and our chat room. So it begins.
The second cliché event I assumed would have occurred was that the entire focus of the discussion would be about being a military spouse. Fully ready to sit back and watch my Bravo show with the Book Club in the background, I began hearing Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee, the guest host and an incredible woman, begin to question us on a deeper level: relating the book to us as a person, our families, and most importantly NOT our status as a milspouse.
She created a conversation that sparked self-reflection and challenged us in the hangout to look at situations we may be facing differently, all while using quotes and examples from the book. And so ended my first Military Spouse Magazine’s Book Club hangout.
Well that did not go as expected.
It was so much better than that. It was powerful.
I walked away from the Book Club hangout completely in awe at how challenged I had just been through conversation, how much I actually learned, and what a phenomenal interaction that just occurred amongst an entire group of spouses around the world who didn’t know a thing about one another.
We didn’t focus on the military and we didn’t focus on politics. Instead, we focused on any life situation (funny or sad), our families, and on us as individuals.
I was officially hooked.
Every Book Club hangout I have attended has been unique and FUN with a new guest host every month. I think that was the biggest piece that I enjoyed the most.
For an hour each month, I have continued to meet new friends outside my local community.
We are able to discuss and laugh about matters that may otherwise not have been brought up in conversation, had it not been created by the topics of the book.
I could not be more excited to announce that the next guest host for the July Book Club on July 26th will be Brian Alvarado and Katie Folely, who will be discussing the book, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” (buy it here!)
If you don’t know this man, you should, and this is the perfect opportunity. Not only is he the 2016 AFI Naval Base Coronado’s Spouse of the Year, but he brings a unique perspective between his roles as a male milspouse, style icon, and real estate tycoon.
Katie will bring an openness and realness that will round out this group and make it the best yet.
I can only imagine what fun perspective and discussions we will have!
Hope to hangout with you all soon >>