This is what books do in the 21st century: they create community. This is what coffee shops—and bookstores, and libraries, and theatres, and galleries—do. We are a society yearning for connection, and we seem to be finding it mostly online these days. Even though I'm telling you this online, what I'm really saying is: come out. Come out of your office, your house, and walk your neighborhood. Have coffee with a friend. Talk about something other than how busy you are.
People ask me why I still visit book groups when I could just as well call in with Skype (which was what I was going to do for this one). Skype has, indeed, been a wonderful way to communicate with readers and friends all over the country (and world, as half of my relatives are Australian). But when it comes to community, there's nothing like being there.
Today I'm going out into the world, to feel the fog envelope me, and to watch trees whizzing by on the highway, to park on the damp streets of Portland in the early dark of late October, and to enter a light-filled shop with espresso machines hissing, people chattering and laughing, a sense of all being in one place for an hour or two to do something meaningful together.