Saturday, August 24, 2013

Conversation #6 ~ Am I willing to reclaim time to think? (pp. 98-105)

When I read this sentence (p. 100), I thought of the history of Book Buddies.
"Are you encouraged to spend time ... reflecting on what you're learning?"
Here's the back story.  One day in 1996, I was paying for my purchases at Cokesbury Bookstore in Knoxville.  While the clerk was ringing up my books, I picked up the one on display near the cash register:
The Deep End of the Ocean, a new novel by Jacquelyn Mitchard, was about family torn apart when the youngest son was kidnapped.  Nine years later a young boy knocked on the door and asked the mother if she needed the lawn mowed.  She suspected he was her missing son.
The clerk noticed my interest and said, "Oprah's starting a book club, and that's the book she's chosen."  It looked interesting, so I added the book to my purchases, read it, and joined Oprah's new book club discussion on  Some of her readers were more active in the online discussion, and I invited them to an AOL chat room I opened for us once a week.  One of them called us "book buddies," and our group was born.  Donna was among that earliest group, and I met her and several others in person in 1998 when book buddies began getting together with each other.  A few years later, Oprah left and went to  Some of us moved with her, and I started two or three books groups at the new place — Book Buddies, Essencia Island, and Around the World in Eighty Days.  I think that's when I met both Shirley and Mary Zorro.  (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

After her mother died, Donna (AuntyDon) sold their house and moved to Chattanooga.  We opened a bookstore together in 2004 and named it Book Buddies, after the online group of friends.  Donna and I met Mary last year when she visited her daughter, who lives in a Chattanooga suburb, and the three of us walked a labyrinth together.

Donna, Bonnie, and Mary in 2012
When Oprah suddenly and without warning took down all the book discussion groups on, we were left without a "home" of our own.  Years of book discussions gone, just like that.  So I started this blog for us.  Notice our URL is  See that "3" in the middle?  This is the third incarnation of Book Buddies — first with Oprah, then as a bookstore, and now on a blog where our book discussions will remain forever available, unless Blogspot folds or closes us down.  The books we've read are listed on the sidebar, linked to our discussions since 2007.

All that to explain why I say "Yes" to Wheatley's question.  Yes, I am willing to make (or reclaim) time to think.  This blog is testimony to my answer.  See also my profile, which says, "I read to explore ideas."  Yep, I'm all for thinking about stuff.

How would you answer Wheatley's question, "Am I willing to reclaim time to think?"


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Speaking of labyrinths, today I ran across a pattern to teach children how to draw a classical seven-path labyrinth. It looks surprisingly simple, and I thought it might interest you:

Shirley said...

I appreciate the historical review and your decision to start and continue Book Buddies. Lots of good discussions and "click" moments occur because of my participation in the group.

The labyrinth discussion and drawing look interesting. I was glad when I discovered my first one this summer. Another "click" for me.

Zorro said...

Olivia and I will follow the pattern to make a labyrinth next week while I am in Tennessee.

In her therapy work, Cori uses mandalas - drawing, coloring, etc. These seem to do the same calming as the labyrinths.

Yes, I think a lot.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Somewhere in a box, I have a collection of mandalas I drew in the mid-1970s with colored pens and pencils. All different, as the spirit led me. They probably reflect my emotions and frustrations of the time, especially my work environment. Drawing them was definitely calming and healing.

Shirley, why don't you come to Chattanooga next week? We could all get together!

Shirley said...

Are you artistic in general, Bonnie? The mandalas sound like a neat experience at the right time in your life.

The get together sounds like fun. Unfortunately, my 93-year-old mother fell and broke her hip on August 14. I've been spending several hours each day with her (she's now in a rehab center with hopes of returning home) so a trip wouldn't work for me at this time.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Yes, I guess I'm artistic in general. My dad was an artist (art should have been his profession), and there's an artist or two in each generation since. I did the pen-and-ink illustrations for a couple of books a long time ago. Actually, a few years before I doodled those mandalas.

You have an invitation to visit here in Chattanooga whenever you can come. Or maybe someday we could meet in the middle between Topeka and Chattanooga. It would have been fun for you to visit next week, since Mary will be here — and Donna and I live here. Ginnie, who plans to join this discussion, lives in North Georgia just south of town. I stayed with Ginnie for eleven days after my quadruple-bypass surgery in 2009. She took me home from the hospital because I couldn't do a thing for myself. Maybe someday we can get a bunch of book buddies together.

Shirley said...

Kind of neat that you picked up some of the genetic artistic talent, Bonnie!

It would be fun to meet the group sometime. I remember that several years ago, the possibility was mentioned and one person (I can't remember who) seemed quite upset with this idea. I even sent for Chattanooga brochures thinking it might be a fun trip for my daughter and I.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

You and your daughter should make plans to come. After all, Mary comes here to visit her daughter's family — including Mary's young granddaughter.

alisonwonderland said...

I first joined the Book Buddies in (I think) October 2007 with the reading of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Over the past few weeks I've been eavesdropping on the conversation about Turning to One Another - and I've been so intrigued that I've requested the book from the library so I can see what I've been missing.

Last fall, as we read Christianity for the Rest of Us, I was intrigued by the experiences some of the Book Buddies had with labyrinths and wanted to have an experience of my own. I discovered that there is a labyrinth not far from my office, and I planned to visit it one day during lunch time. Alas, I kept putting it off, and I'd almost forgotten about having a labyrinth experience until earlier this month, while attending the Utah Shakespeare Festival with my husband, I remembered that there is a labyrinth at St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Cedar City, just a block or two from the bed-and-breakfast where we were staying. One night after dinner, we had a little time before the play started, so we walked over to the church and both walked the labyrinth.

What a great experience! I definitely want to do more of that - and it's a great way to reclaim time to think!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Yay, Alison! So glad you see you in this conversation! And I'm glad you found a labyrinth. Even without reading the book, feel free to answer some of the questions already posted for this book. While the book is excellent, reading it is not absolutely necessary before discussing it. The whole point of the book is to get us talking.

Shirley said...

Welcome back to the group, Alison!

That is neat that you recently walked your first labyrinth as well. I was surprised that they do take longer to walk than it appears. A great way to put oneself in a contemplative, thinking mode.

AuntyDon said...

This is a hard conversation for me because I am stressed that I don't have enough "think" time. I do like it at work when I get to eat my meal first because I am by myself and can use that time to read and think. Otherwise, it is so noisy with loud talking and video game playing that I can't think at all.

My day is made up of working, sleeping, trying to balance the church's books, etc., so much so that I have little time to reflect or think on much. I do get to think the time I spend on my bible study lessons.

Cori, Brian and Olivia said...

Donna, that is a hard work environment when you don't have any quiet time or place.

I always tried to spend quiet time at school during my conference period because being in front of an audience of teenagers was stressful. I was lucky that our school provided offices for teachers - I didn't have to be in the faculty workroom! I certainly need the time alone to recharge my batteries!

Zorro said...

I guess the computer was signed in here in Cori's (my daughter) account!