Tonight is book club night! I love it!

The wisdom of the ages are locked up in books. And what’s so cool is that we have the key to unlock them.

We just have to be willing to take some time to open up and read.

Ever since my move away from Minneapolis to Santa Fe, I have enjoyed books.

Books allow an escape to a completely new environment even when one is confined to another.

Books also allow an opportunity for solitude. Solitude is not loneliness, it’s a choice to be just with oneself.

Now, despite the solitude which has normally surrounded books, books can offer the opportunity to understand the minds of others.

Here, the idea of understanding the mind of the author is obvious, but I am thinking about the mind of others as well.

A book club allows one to cull and contribute insights regarding a book that everyone has read separately.

As a result, it is the way in which to take the events culminating in the completion of reading a book and turning it into an intellectually penetrating social affair.

And for me, I am blessed by the fact that I have been able to join a club of gentlemen readers who are all a generation my senior.

I totally hit the jackpot on this one! I’m in a group which includes a Seattle Mayor, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Head, Shanghai Consulate General, Merchants, Lawyers, and Businessmen.

The fact that they are all retired now means that they each have time to think more deeply about the books we read and they each share with each other – and now me – their perspective and wisdom.

Like I said before: “I love it!”

Tonight I will be joining them for the fourth time.

So far I have been included in discussions about Anthony Trollope’s The Warden; Jeanine Cummins’ American Dirt; and Mario Livio’s Galileo and the Science Deniers.

We meet – now online – once a month to discuss a preselected book based on a system in which each of us presents three books in three categories.

These three categories are: (a) classics (which have been in widespread print for at least 50 years); (b) fiction; and (c) non-fiction.

Upon receipt of these lists, a ballot is sent out with all of the choices which each of us number in order of preference.

The most popular 3 or 4 books in each category are  then arranged into a proposed monthly reading order based largely on length of the books so that we don’t have to plow through several multiple hundred page books for months in a row to then have really short books.

It appears that we generally rotate the categories through the months too.

And finally, there is a consideration to whether the book should be timed to external circumstances. For instance, this upcoming book will be Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci timed to allow contemplation contemporary to the Da Vinci exhibit which is up at the Museum of History and Industry at Seattle’s South Lake Union.

Oh, and we have a month open in October with no book yet selected so that we can identify a book to read which emerges and rises to prominence yet this year.

Tonight we are reviewing Ivan Doig’s Last Bus to Wisdom.

This is a fun, coming of age novel, which has the narrator reflecting nostalgically on his summer travels and travails at age 11.

It is sort of an American West Iliad and Odyssey which tracks his Greyhound riding adventures of the early 1950s from his home in Montana back to an Aunt’s house in Wisconsin and back to Montana.

While it wasn’t particularly mind expanding, it was an enjoyable read. I would recommend it to anyone who is heading off for a trip to Palm Springs, Maui, or Tampa to escape the snow or rain for a mid-winter break with an aim to relax at the pool or beach.

And again what’s so cool is I will get a chance to find out if this is what the other gentleman in my book club think about the book too this evening too.

I just can’t wait!

Have a great Monday and week ahead. Cheer!