The book club pictured with Lloyd Robertson, the honoured author in attendance to discuss his excellent 2012 memoir, “The Kind of Life It’s Been.”
The Best Health audience knows that our brand celebrates all the elements that add up to a healthy, happy life; that if you do good things like eat well and exercise, it results in you sleeping better, having less stress in your life and ultimately looking and feeling your best. Sometimes, those results come from embracing life, too’by accepting a challenge or accepting an invitation to try something different and new, something perhaps out of your own comfort zone.
One of those invitations was a very kind one from a writer whose magazine work I’ve edited for years, Susan McClelland. She is an accomplished book author, too, including ‘The Bite of the Mango‘ and the newly released ‘Stars Between the Sun and the Moon‘, which tells the incredible true story of a woman’s escape from North Korea. Almost two years ago, Susan invited me as her guest to her book club of 11 other women I’d not met before.
When you’re ‘the new one’ in a close, established group, it can be intimidating, and you tend to be shy’I do, anyway. But what I observed attending that book club for the first time excited me inside, and I’ve since embraced this amazing group of women. It isn’t just that the book’s author is usually in attendance at the monthly meetings, which are hosted in turns by each member. That’s a remarkable thing. But it’s that these women, who always support each other in whatever they do, are so inspiring, and diverse in their various life stories and accomplishments. One, Shirley Goldenberg, a stylish and energetic octogenarian, is a pioneering former professor at McGill. Another, Maggie Bras, heads a foundation that helps fund cancer drug development. Rachel Manley has written many books, including the Governor General’s Award-winning ‘Drumblair,’ her family memoir set in Jamaica. Every other book club member has a fascinating life story and list of achievements and milestones, including everything from singing to lawyering to organizing major fundraising events to modeling to producing national television news.
One thing we all have in common is a love of books, and that brings me to Velvet Haney, who created this book club. She has long loved books but has only recently realized her dream of writing one. But for her book she didn’t craft her narrative from words alone; she drew illustrations, too. It’s a graphic novel, and it’s captivating. Clever, funny, brash and brutally honest, ‘The Mouse House Years‘ tells the story of her unconventional upbringing in the slums of Toronto in the 1960s. It’ll be ‘officially’ launched on October 14th and I know it’ll be a hit. Congratulations, Velvet! And thank you, Book Club, for all the inspiration each of you give me. I’m grateful for the invitation’and so glad I said, ‘Yes.’