The embassy book club

This is by far the busiest fall on record for us. Liam joined just about every club at his school, plus he’s learning guitar, so I’m racing to pick him up every night at 5 o’clock and squeezing in dinner before homework and bedtime. Violet started back at Gymboree and I’m hosting play dates for her once a week. I started back up volunteering to teach English to refugees once a week. I’m trying to get in shape with a regular Pilates and aerial yoga classes, and I’m meeting friends once a week for a lengthy bike ride. And then, just for grins, I decided to join the embassy book club.

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It might have been too much to bear. But what a book club! This month they were reading A Gentleman in Moscow and meeting for dinner and cocktails at the Hotel Grand Bretagne. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the book (says the mother of two who still can’t get through the stack of National Geographics that have been piling up on her nightstand) but it sounded like a lot of fun. I haven’t been in a book club in years…since before kids, actually. And I love, love, love reading. So with the meetup a week away, I borrowed the book from a fellow member and read feverishly for seven days straight. Actually, before kids I could have easily finished the 462 pages in a weekend, but squeezing it in at nap times and after the kids’ 9 PM bedtime, it was a little more challenging.

So, yeah, I finished the last 20 pages on the train on the way to the dinner. But, hey, it was all fresh in my mind. I could actually remember the character names and most of the plot. Especially the last 100 pages or so.

And this book club rocks. They looked up information on the author to share, we had intelligent conversations about different themes and plot points, and we killed a few (or more, ahem) bottles of wine. What a perfect setting for this novel about a Russian aristocrat under decades of house arrest at a fancy hotel in Moscow during the Cold War.

Plus, there was the view.

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One of our members who showed up on time (which was pretty much everyone else but me) took this lovely photo at sunset. Nice shot, Renee!

This hotel meet up was a special treat — most of the book club meetings are hosted by the members at their homes either in the morning or in the evening. But I suspect this lovely group of ladies will come up with some fun, thematic venues again at some point.

Next month we’re reading The Confusion of Languages by Siobon Fallon, who is incidentally the spouse of an embassy employee living abroad just like us! How inspiring! Who knows…maybe I’ll get around to writing that comedy/motherhood novel about living overseas that I’ve got knocking around in my head. Right after I get through these National Geographics.