Art, creativity and the time for it is a dream I’ve been searching for my entire life. It hasn’t been easy, but I am happily handing over every spare minute I have to drawing and thinking about Little Bat these days. But the thing about illustrating is it’s a solitary activity. Sure, I bounce my ideas and show my drawings for feedback to my creative partner/husband when he’s home, but for the most part, the creating happens with me alone at my desk (or more times than not, with a very bored Peanut curled up on the floor behind me, springing into action each time I get up to use the bathroom).
I’m finding that for the sake of my sanity and for overall happiness in general, balance is key. And one of those nuggets of happiness always comes from getting together with the ladies for our monthly book club meets. Throughout my life, books were a form of escape for me. And when I moved away from my bubble in the South Bay to a new neighborhood in Los Angeles, books helped me pass the pre-Peanut days of waiting for my then-boyfriend (now husband) to get home from work. Back then, I craved the company of friends and connecting with others with the same interest, so I went in search of a book club.
At the time, all I wanted was to find a fun group of ladies to have a drink with and share my thoughts (good and bad) for the book I had just finished. Cue The Girly Book Club on meetup.com. It was described as “a global book club for like-minded women to discuss great books!”, and it was just what I was looking for. A week before the meetup, there was still no host and no location. I volunteered to host and find a place to meet, just that one time. There were eight of us ladies, all meeting for the first time at the restaurant I had chosen, the ATX Kitchen (now Momed) in Atwater Village. We read Wool by Hugh Howey (not one of my favorites) but our love of books is what brought us together and I had such a great time. Fast-forward four years and we’re still going strong. We’re no longer a part of the official Girly Book Club, and I no longer officially host, but month after month, we still get together for that drink, brunch and some good conversation in a different, fun spot all over L.A. The most memorable for me are:
1. Brunch at The Front Yard in North Hollywood (http://www.thefrontyardla.com/), where we met on the outdoor patio of the beautiful restaurant, under the shade of the olive trees and umbrellas. This is the most recent, but it was a check on the book club bucket list. Our lovely Rebecca suggested we read a book written by her boss’ friend, who volunteered to come and hang out with us for a book discussion afterwards. It’s been a long lived wish of mine to have an author attend one of our book clubs, and having Anne Cherian, author of A Good Indian Wife, brunch and chat with us about her book was so amazing. She was so warm, smart and open with us about her experience, and we even got an alternate ending to her book! The experience was so much fun, and an extra special treat for us. I would definitely recommend Anne’s book, a work of fiction with an interesting view on arranged marriages in Indian culture and the U.S.
2. ATX Kitchen (now Momed Atwater Village www.atmomed.com/aw/) This place will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the place for the first book club meeting. The food was always pretty tasty, and I loved the open outdoor space, the community tables and the train whizzing by every half hour. (These photos were taken back when it was ATX Kitchen. I miss the personal touch of the mural of owner's mother or grandmother- I can't remember which.)
3. Our 1-year anniversary in North Hollywood at the clubhouse of the condos member Leslie managed. It was the first time we had gathered for a potluck celebration, and it was so fun to have a special place just for us to celebrate! Next year will be 5 years together for us, so I’ll have to plan for something just as special. (Please excuse the low-res, blurry photo, this was from back in 2013.)
We have gone to so many fun spots throughout L.A. (See end of blog for the delicious and fun spots for a drink, and easy parking situations we’ve checked out- all a MUST for an ideal book club hangout.)
Now, the newness has settled into a warm and comfortable friendship. I love these ladies so much! We still see each other every month, have attended each other’s weddings, baby showers, and said sad good-byes to those who have moved away from L.A. We also rotate hosts to pick the book and location, to keep things fresh and casual for everyone. No matter how busy I get, I always try to come back to my girlies to catch up and fill my creative cup with connection, laughs, and delicious food and book conversation. Shout out to my book club ladies! Thank you for your friendship and for sharing your love of reading with me.
If you’re a book-loving lady in the L.A. area looking for a book club, let me know! We’d love to have you join us. Are you reading anything interesting that would be a good book club suggestion? Have you gone anywhere fun and delicious for brunch in L.A.? I’d love to hear your favorites.
Book Club locations for...
...a weekday drink and snacks
Bow and Truss, North Hollywood
Bon Vivant, Atwater Village
Oeno Vino (formerly 55 Degrees), Atwater Village
...delicious brunch and lovely outdoor space
The Front Yard, North Hollywood
The Culver Hotel, Culver City
Chado Tea Room, Pasadena or Little Tokyo
Off Vine, Hollywood
Cliff's Edge, Silverlake
Favorite books we've read...
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store
The Fates and the Furies
Girl on the Train (mostly because we also watched the movie together)
Me Before You
The Rosie Project
Here you'll find...
my thoughts, and hopefully a spark of inspiration. Enjoy!