Last Tuesday evening was our Neighborhood Book Club's potluck Christmas party, and I was reminded how grateful I am for this little group. I almost didn't join when invited a couple of years ago because my days don't hold much room for discretionary reading. But with reassurance that participation expectations were minimal, I've managed to keep up at a low level, and it's been just right. Actually, helpful suggestions from trusted sources are even more important when time, energy, money or whatever resources are tight.

There is an unwritten "personal criteria for good books" list somewhere in the back of my mind. It's very fulfilling and satisfying to find the ones that fit that list! Friends that read a lot of good material are great help in considering where to invest one's reading time. In retrospection, this past year wouldn't have been the same if I had not read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson or The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. My husband and I are enjoying the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith each night, taking turns reading to each other before calling it a day. Reading activities shared can be so enriching; good catalysts for conversation.

I noted in a relative's Christmas card/newsletter that she has formed a bookclub with her granddaughters. What a great idea! It could be done in a variety of ways. I picture this one probably began as a supplemental reading program in disguise by this former elementary school teacher, but the joy of it will no doubt be far-reaching. Bookclubs can be as different as anyone's imagination. Yay for imagination! Yay for books that carry us away to great places we've never been before and to meet people that did, or didn't, exist before.