Reading is a solitary hobby. You usually do it alone,  in a chair or in bed, on your front porch, a coffee house, or even a park. You don’t text friends over and say “Come over and bring a book to read.” Yet, since being on Bookstigram, I’ve been involved in a couple of buddy reads and I’m currently in a group read of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones.  It feels odd in a way to read on purpose the same book with a person you never met, but it can be helpful, and sometimes it makes you tackle a book you wanted to read but never got around to it, like Tom Jones.

One of my first buddy reads was not as successful as I hoped it would be.  A woman whose name I don’t remember saw I had a copy of Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and wanted to do a buddy read of it. She never told me that she read it before. It turned out that when I was just starting she was already halfway through the book.  She didn’t seem interested in my opinion at all. Still, I really liked the book. Loving Frank is based on the life of Maham Bostwick, who left her husband and children to run away with architect Frank Lloyd Wright. She was a fascinating woman in her own right and I’m glad I read that book.

I had great buddy reads with my friends @kschoemerae and @puellalegit a number of years. @kschoemerae and I read Good Morning,  Midnight by Jean Ryhs. It’s the story of Englishwoman Sasha Jensen, who is living in London and drinking her life away. A friend of hers gives money so Sasha can live a new life in Paris.  However,  she’s haunted by her past and keeps making bad decisions.  I had a great chat with @kschoemerae about the book. She made me realize why Sasha’s journey was not going to be a happy one. @puellalegit and I read Alexander’s Bridge by Willa Cather. It’s about bridge architect Bartley Alexander,  who lives in Boston with his wife Winifred.  Bartley goes to London on business and runs into an old lover, stage actress Hilda Bourgogne. This was Cather’s first novel and she didn’t have a love of either Boston or London the way she loved the American Prarie as she did in her books My Antonia and O, Pioneers.  I really got a lot out of my chat with @puellalegit and I got a deeper appreciation of the book seeing it through my friend’s eyes.

Currently, I am in a group read of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. I am reading along with @reid_ks, who I had a delightful buddy read of Gaudy House by Dorothy Sayers. @steveperry349 organizes group reads. I skipped out of the last one of Don Quixote because I didn’t have a copy and didn’t want to read a 1,000-page book. I did however have a copy of Tom Jones and I’m a huge fan of the 1963 film with Albert Finney and Suzanne York. The read started officially on April 10th but I started early and I’m glad.  I’m a slow reader so I wanted to get a head start.  I’m on page 306 and I’m happy with the progress I’m making. Once you get used to Fielding’s long-winded style, the book reads pretty quickly and is very funny. What makes it great is that my friend @nikeclassicliterature loves to track down old allusions and historical figures the book may refer to. He’s a literary detective in a way and I love all the facts that I might overlook.

As for my original hashtag #thetomreport,  I came up with it to track my reading on Bookstigram.  The name of the hashtag cracked me up. I am happy to say the group has adopted the name and hashtag.  This has made me very happy and even a little proud.