I am always reminded of my planned write-ups regarding our book club’s discussions when the next one is just a few days in the offing. So yes, this is, again, a little outdated, but what can I do? I have a job to do and some books to read and sleep hours to complete.
And I’ll stop whining now and move on. April’s theme was classics. Jane Eyre won the polls, trouncing The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings, and Les Miserables. Because a lot of readers are intimidated by classics, I feared that this would turn out to be the least attended book discussion so far (the lowest record is 12, which is the first one), but the number of participants who arrived even doubled that number. There were a lot of people who showed themselves for the first time, and there were even a couple who resurfaced after a long time of absence.
So what happened is that our noisy group of almost 30 was broken into three. I was asked by our discussion leader Tina, along with our other two moderators, to assist her in leading the mini-group discussions. It’s a quite impossible to handle the group alone with that searing April heat, no? So yes, I think it’s better to delegate mini-tasks.
Tina handed out a set of questions to each of us moderators, which we will be addressing to each group after a certain time period. I don’t know what questions the other two had, but I assigned the questions that pertain to Jane Eyre’s, uhm, love life.
Questions that hint at May-December relationships are unavoidable, what with Jane Eyre being just half of Rochester’s age. Team Rochester versus Team St. John questions were also raised, like whose love is more self-serving, who is more manipulative, or who is more “bangable.” Stuff like that.
The importance, or insignificance, of passion in marriage was also discussed. I think I had the very interesting questions, and Tina even attested to that. They pull out a lot of little details about the person answering each question, like their views on relationships, their individual potentials as lovers, their measure of modesty, and other stuff that are not normally talked about.
I also think that it was a very auspicious day because the date of the discussion coincided with Charlotte Bronte’s 196th birthday. Talk of coincidences, huh? I imagined her spirit guiding us in our discussion, but we didn’t get into heavy debates about the book’s literary merits since the book is generally liked. Or probably we didn’t entertain that thought because of the heat.
Anyway, it’s not always the book’s details that ultimately matter during book discussions. The socialization affects the turn of events too, and in this month’s case, I think the number of new faces is the mark that it left on me. Charlotte Bronte would have happily nodded her approval at this.
Finally, I am very happy because a number of the participants explored the world of classics for the first time. Jane Eyre proved to be a good book to start sampling out classical works because it’s not daunting. I wonder how the book discussion would have been had Les Miserables won the polls. Would someone have finished it on time? Hmm.
By the way, some of the attendees participated as observers (or as film buffs since they have seen the most recent film adaptation). Now, the film adaptation is a topic that deserves its own spotlight, so let’s leave it at that.
Jane Eyre Book Discussion Details
- Date: April 21, 2012
- Place: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, F. Ortigas Jr. Ave., Pasig City
- Time: 3 PM to 7 PM
- Attendees: Me, Aaron, Ace (comeback), Aenna, Aldrin (cameo), Alexa (newbie), Alona, Aprilyn (newbie), Beejay, Camille , Cary, Charles, Ella, Ingrid, JL, JM (newbie), Jzhun, KD, Kwesi, LS (Newbie), Maria, Atty. Monique, Noelle (newbie), Patrick, Po, Rollie, Sheryl, Tina (discussion leader), Tricia, Miss Veronica, Wilfred (newbie)
- Food I Ate: African sunrise iced tea, some cake, some chocolate bars with raspberry filling, home-baked revel bars (they are really, really good!) from Tina, and some elaborate Singaporean cigarettes from Maria that require you to crush the filters until something pops.
(Photos courtesy of Ella.)