#TBT

This week was kind of momentous, and I have the perfect Throwback Thursday post to celebrate. Published in May 2012, this was the last article I ever wrote for the Virden Empire-Advance. Though I was taking distance courses from SFU the entire time I was living and working in Manitoba, my decision to uproot my life, leave family and friends, and move to Vancouver was really the beginning of what ended so momentously this week. So, for your reading pleasure:

So Long, Farewell—A Love Letter to My Readers

When I was in university, studying my Bachelor of Arts in English, I was constantly pestered by my family (Dad in particular) about the possibility of moving home after school and working for a newspaper indefinitely. Every time, I adamantly refused that as a possibility. No way was I going to be a reporter.

Now, that may seem like an odd intro for an editorial written by a staff reporter, but please, allow me to explain myself. I’ll start at the beginning (sort of).

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Article

Stolen from the New York Times. Primarily because of this line: “We had an accident one time. We read ‘Water for Elephants.’ It was a huge mistake.” Secondarily because it’s an interesting read:

Men Have Book Clubs, Too

“The fun part was looking at the expressions,” said the club’s founder, Andrew McCullough, 53. “Some guys had real difficulty swallowing. I kept eating. I have standards I need to adhere to, as secretary and founder.”

The Man Book Club is going into its ninth year. It has 16 members, a number of whom are lawyers and engineers in their mid-50s. Each month, the host must prepare a meal appropriate to the book under discussion.

There was an eight-course French supper to accompany Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” and a meal of refined comfort food presented on TV trays for Bill Bryson’s 1950s-era memoir, “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.”

“I was always a little jealous of my wife’s book clubs,” Mr. McCullough said. “Now our wives are jealous of us. We’ve created something that is more durable. The book club my wife belongs to — there’s a lot of changeover.”

Women, it seems, can afford to drop in and out of reading groups. In its 2011 survey of voluntary organizations, the Pew Research Center found that 11 percent of Americans were active in “literary, discussion or study groups such as book clubs” and that women were more than twice as likely to take part in such gatherings as men were.

Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity. In addition to going by the name the Man Book Club, for instance, Mr. McCullough’s group expresses its notion of manliness through the works it chooses to read. “We do not read so-called chick lit,” he said. “The main character cannot be a woman.”

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