Weather: grey, foggy, and hovering around 44 degrees F. Home again after four days and nights in my daughter's shoes. Still chilled to the marrow from being in a hockey rink yesterday, so there's a fire in the wood stove. All of the things I had hoped to tidy up before leaving are still here, the main physical one being a dead tree with ornaments and lights on it. There is an odd assortment of food in the refrigerator and in the closets, but I don't feel like grocery shopping. However, it's the perfect kind of day for a ham baking in the oven, yams, and coffee-switching-over-to-tea as the day goes on.

Whether: I'm deciding whether to sneak off to see a movie downtown, Les Miserables or whether to be responsible and deal with my to-do-list. Or a little of both, maintain the balance in my oft-overwhelming life. Most likely, I'll end up doing some of each. The best thing that I did for myself at the year's end was to commit to reading 50 books in 52 weeks!! The way this came about was I read the Bernardsville Public Library newsletter which gets mailed every two months. It's not a book club, which a fair number of my friends belong to nor is it a garden club, ladies' volunteer society or Bible study.

Here is how it was described: "Join our reading challenge to read 50 books in a year. The group meets for reading suggestions, feedback and refreshments. Free. Advance sign-up is requested. Next meeting Saturday, January 12 at 3:00pm." So I called and signed up at the end of December, forgetting I'd be at my daughter's.

Yesterday I was on the fence about going, then hopped in the car and drove there, arriving maybe 3 minutes late. The room was packed. I walked in, still wearing layers of clothes from the hockey game. There must have been 40 or more women, who obviously all knew each other. I grabbed a chair off a rack and sat at the back, which was more like the fringe, with everyone else clustered around a square of tables pushed together.

A sign-in sheet was passed to me and my name wasn't on it. So much for the phone call. Two librarians were leading the discussion, which was limited to each person telling a bit about one book they read last year and why they liked it. Several women complained about choosing only one book. I started regretting being there, especially as they started passing out suggested reading lists from various sources. It reminded me of being given a syllabus for a school course, except it was eight at once, each containing 3 or 4 pages, stapled neatly.

My turn came. I had just finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell, so I described that, as if one could do his writing justice in a few minutes. After the last person spoke, the librarians began talking about e-books and Kindles, so I walked out to get a copy of Winter's Tale, which had been recommended to me by dannye. Back in the meeting, I glanced at the description on the dust jacket, which began, "There is a chase that lasts a thousand years and a Brooklyn milkhorse who discovers he can fly. There is a burglar's lair above the zodiac that vaults Grand Central Station, and asleep on a rooftop, a beautiful consumptive heiress swaddled in furs....."

Oh, I can tell already, weather and whether aside, it's going to be a delicious journey. I tell my family it's a new diet...reading instead of eating. Plus I put my name in a basket and won a sturdy mug, with gold stars and a skating snowman! Next meeting is sometime in April.

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