You know my story. For a long time after I came to Korea, I pined for a book group. There was a once-a-month book swap in Daegu, but wouldn’t you know it? A couple of months after I joined, the bookish heart and brains of the swap packed his bookshelves and moved back to New Zealand. Six dark months went by and I found BOOKLEAVES. Then there was the book swap at the Wolfhound, which I hit intermittently. My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm and I have been grinning to beat the band.
A few weeks ago, I found out about Talya’s book group and wanted to go, but there was a conflict with a BOOKLEAVES meeting. I’m visiting for the first time this weekend though! I finished Shangahai Baby and I’m ready!
As soon as I arrived at my new school, I noticed that there were bookworms afoot. Almost immediately, I met Faulkner Guy and we swapped Middlemarch and Go Down, Moses. Then more bookworms began emerging. Then I noticed that there’s a email list of all the foreign teachers. Curiosity got the better of me. I sent out a message wanting to know who would be interested in forming a book club here at Erewhon. About a dozen people responded. Wow!
On Wednesday evening, nine of us got together for that first meeting. We went to a restaurant where they have kalguksoo, this wonderful soup with seafood, vegetables and these really big, hearty and oh-so-tasty noodles. After dinner, everyone wrote down a suggestion for what we could read. These suggestions included: Three Men And A Boat, House of Leaves, White Noise, 1984, New York Stories, Laughter In The Dark, A Farewell To Arms, The Age of Innocence and The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. Many people wanted to read White Noise, but just as many people had already read it, so it was eliminated. Finally, we settled on Laughter In The Dark by Vladimir Nabokov. Our next meeting is May 20.
I’m happy that I got my wish so easily; it was almost like rubbing the genie’s lamp. On the other hand, three book groups? Some of the BOOKLEAVES members raised their eyebrows when they found out I’m going to visit Talya’s group. What will they say when they find out I’ve started a group right in my own backyard? Words like excessive and amok come to mind. “You’re a book group slut,” one of the members of my new group assured me. Another new group person joked that I was two-timing them. “Three-timing,” I muttered.