Archive for Joy For Beginners
Our last chapter brings us back to Kate, who is facing her whitewater rafting challenge with her daughter Robin by her side. As with the other women portrayed in this book, Kate’s challenge is symbolic of her doubts and fears in life; her ability to find strength in carrying out the challenge allows her to release tightly held emotions and frees her to be more of herself.
Now that we have reached the end of our story, I am wondering what is your favorite take away from the book? Which character were you able to most relate to? Has the book inspired you to take on any challenges?
Congratulations to one of Glen Ivy’s favorite authors Erica Bauermeister – Joy for Beginners was chosen as one of the top ten books in women’s fiction for 2011 by Library Journal. As we blogged through Joy we each found pieces of ourselves and our lives reflected in the characters that we were reading about. For me, this book was not only a good read but an impetus for reflecting on life’s journey and the experiences and people we encounter on the path. Thank you, Erica, for blogging with us. We eagerly await your next book and hope that you’ll continue to visit our book club.
Our Winter Book Club selection will be announced in late December and we’ll begin blogging in January. Until then, happy reading!
Join us at the Spa for a Special Book Club Get Together!
At the HOT SPRINGS:
We’ll be concluding this season’s book club together in person with a casual luncheon and enchilada class with Glen Ivy’s Executive Chef Bill Wavrin this Sunday, November 20th at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona. The Book Club Spa Day Package includes spa admission, Chef Bill’s class, lunch and the book club discussion all for $75. Get details on Book Club Spa Day or call 888 GLEN IVY to reserve your space.
At GLEN IVY BREA:
Those in the Orange County area can enjoy a special book club get together at our Brea Day Spa location on Wednesday, November 30th. Event specials include a 50 minute massage for $79, and a light spa snack to enjoy as we discuss the book together. Please call to reserve treatments and to RSVP.
As we near the end of this season’s book selection, we meet Ava. One of Kate’s most longstanding friends, Ava could not bring herself to be physically present with Kate as she fought breast cancer. Ava relates to the world through her sense of smell – the first of our human senses to develop and as such the most primal of our five senses. Ava lost her mother to breast cancer; a memory that is deeply held within Ava’s highly developed olfactory sense. Ava and the other women initially see Ava’s given challenge as punishment for not coming to Kate during her time of need; Kate says it is not punishment but rather a way to bring Ava home. For Ava, the task of doing a three-day walk for breast cancer awareness brings an opportunity to face and move past painful memories.
Do you think that the experience of losing her mother early in life caused Ava to “get stuck” in the development of her senses? In a sense, Ava never moved beyond the most basic of senses – do you think that losing her mother so early was the impetus for this?
How would you react if one of your closest friends was not there for you when you were facing a major life challenge? Would you be able to forgive them and maintain the friendship?
We’ll be concluding this season’s book club together in person with a casual luncheon and enchilada class with Glen Ivy’s Executive Chef Bill Wavrin this Sunday, November 20th at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona. The Book Club Spa Day Package includes spa admission, Chef Bill’s class, lunch and the book club discussion all for $75. Those in the Orange County area can enjoy a special book club get together at our Brea Day Spa location on Wednesday, November 30th – this get-together will include special event savings on treatments and a light spa snack to enjoy as we discuss the book together.
Please call 888-GLEN IVY to reserve your space.
As with Hadley’s character, I found some resonance with Marion, the character in this week’s chapter. I too grew up in the mid-west and was “a child who did mostly what was expected of her.” When I was younger I secretly longed to do something really crazy and outlandish with my appearance, but never possessed the bravery to really do it. Later in life, during a time of major transition, I started feeling a strong urge to express my individuality in a tangible way. Initially I told myself that I was too old to do anything too crazy, but the urge wouldn’t go away. I soon found myself making an appointment to get my navel pierced — a marking that most of the world will never see, but held great significance for me. Like Marion, I found that making a statement on my body somehow gave me the strength to express myself more fully and clearly in other ways. Even the contemplation of getting a tattoo gave Marion the inspiration to begin writing fiction — something she had always longed to do.
Have you ever found that doing something you’ve always dreamed of has given you the strength to tackle something even bigger? Is there something that you’re still waiting to do, but think that you’re too old, too busy, too afraid of what others will say or think? Do you think that reading this book may change your mind?
This week we meet Hadley, a young widow who finds solace from her husband’s death in a small home with an overgrown garden. Hadley’s story reminded me of how a caterpillar transforms in to a butterfly; the worm encases itself in a cocoon and begins a process of metamorphosis in which it literally dissolves in to a soupy goo. From that goo a butterfly is eventually formed. In order to survive, the butterfly must break out of the cocoon that once sustained it. Getting out of a cocoon can be a difficult process, however if a well meaning human tries to help by cutting the cocoon open the butterfly will die instantly. In fact, butterflies that experience greater struggle in breaking out of their cocoon are hardier and live longer than their counterparts who have an easier time of it.
The small house and overgrown garden provide Hadley with a cocoon of sorts; Hadley has found a sheltered place to allow herself and her previous life to melt away. But, also like the butterfly, Hadley must break out of her cocoon in order to find a new, reformed life. I think that Kate, after coming so close to death herself, sees and understands this about her friend, even though Hadley does not see it for herself and would be happy to continue on, even as the vines of her garden wrap themselves around her more tightly.
I found some resonance with this chapter; my garden always seems to reflect my state of mind. I find pulling weeds cathartic and often think about habits or other things in my life that I want to get rid of while I’m weeding. My favorite line from this chapter was, “You can tell more about a person from their garden than you ever will from what they say about themselves.” What did you enjoy about this chapter? What does your garden say about you?
Welcome to week three of the Glen Ivy Autumn Book Club.
This week’s chapter introduces us to Sara, a young mother who is quite opposite to last week’s character, Daria. Sara happily put her sense of adventure on hold in favor of the stability and comfort of marriage, children and home life. Sara reminded me of so many women who are happy in their devotion to their family even though they have lost a little piece of themselves. Kate’s challenge to Sara is to take a vacation by herself – something almost unthinkable to most mothers of young children. Although not seeing a way that she could possibly leave her children or husband, at the urging of her friends and family she manages to overcome her fears long enough to get on a plane.
Do you think Sara would have had the courage to go to Venice on her own had she not witnessed her friend battling cancer? Did she and the other characters in this book “borrow” strength from Kate – the woman they were supporting for so long?
While in Venice Sara finds peace and solitude; from peace and solitude she begins to remember lost pieces of herself. How important do you think it is for mothers or women in general to make time to be alone and express themselves creatively?
Welcome to week two of the Glen Ivy Autumn Book Club.
This week we meet Daria, the youngest in Kate’s circle of friends. In reading this chapter and learning more about this character, I kept waiting for her self-described unpredictability to reveal itself. It seemed to me that Daria was perhaps predictable in her unpredictability. She was reliable in her care for Kate; this doesn’t seem like a characteristic that would be held by someone who was genuinely rebellious and unpredictable. Is it perhaps that Daria is actually craving the things she claims to be averting? Henry seems to be truly unpredictable in his lifestyle, but do you think that he maintains a groundedness that is missing from Daria’s life? Why might this be?
Daria’s challenge was to learn to bake bread. When I think of baking bread it brings to mind feelings of warmth, stability and the comforts of home – was Daria’s real challenge to embrace these qualities within herself?
I look forward to reading your thoughts on Daria. In the upcoming week we’ll be posting details about our Book Club Spa Day…stay tuned! Happy reading!
As the book opens, we meet Kate, a survivor of breast cancer who is finding her way back to a “normal” life. Kate and her close knit band of friends are gathering for a “victory dinner” to recognize and celebrate her victory over cancer and the start of her “new” life. In this chapter, we see the staunch support given freely and without reservation from a circle of women who continue to stand by her as she reclaims her life. Did you find it significant that Kate’s friends insisted on a potluck? What were your thoughts on Kate undertaking such a dangerous adventure after just surviving cancer?
As we move in to the next chapter of the book we meet Caroline. Although not through disease, Caroline has also faced the ending of her life as she knew it. After the end of her marriage, Caroline must find a new set point in life – a new way of being and defining herself. In challenging Caroline to release her ex-husband’s books, Kate is charging Caroline with releasing the past. Although the first few sentences of this chapter tell us that Caroline is not good at holding on to things, she finds releasing the books a daunting task. Has life ever taken you to this point? If so, did you find that discarding a physical object associated with the memory of how life used to be helped you to release and move on? What did you think of the revelation of Jack’s medical tests? Was Caroline perhaps too involved with her friend’s health to notice that of her husband’s?
Join us as we read our way through the Autumn Book Club selection, Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. As we go, we’ll share thoughts and ask questions pertaining to each chapter – join us in our online discussions!
The reading schedule is as follows – feel free to join in at any time!
Oct. 10 Week 1 Prologue & Caroline
Oct. 17 Week 2 Daria
Oct. 24 Week 3 Sara
Oct. 31 Week 4 Hadley
Nov. 7 Week 5 Marion
Nov. 14 Week 6 Ava
Nov. 21 Week 7 Kate
About Joy for Beginners
Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends. At an intimate, outdoor dinner on a warm September evening, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter. Kate, however, is reluctant to take the risk. That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her. Kate agrees, with one provision — she didn’t get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs.
October has always been a special time at Glen Ivy; as the warmth and gaiety of the summer fades in to cooler temperatures and shorter days, we take a grateful pause and relish the moments that brought joy to the long but somehow too short days of summer. It is in these times of reflection we realize our innate and inseparable connection to one another – pausing to appreciate that it is really time spent with our friends, family and loved ones that imbue our days with joy. These shared moments are precious and often fragile. Every October, Glen Ivy strives to support a cause, not only because doing so is indicative of responsible and ethical business practice, but also as a means of taking a moment to recognize and support the relationships that are shared and nurtured as friends and families choose our grounds on which to create memories, celebrate life, reconnect, and rejuvenate with each other.
It is in this spirit that our Autumn Book Club selection was chosen. Once again, we are reading a book by celebrated author Erica Bauermeister, Joy For Beginners. We hope you will read along with us and join the online discussion.