Photo Credit: William Beem
Welcome to beautiful Washington, D.C. -- home of #YASummerShowdown participant, the DC FYA Book Club! (OH HAI, Megan No H, Alexis, and Catie!) Today, we're joined by Melissa, who's here to tell the story of how she found the DC club. (DC FYABCers, y'all might wanna make use of your super cute TFIOS bookmark tissue box for this one.) Take it away, Melissa!
Okay y’all it’s story time. This is a story that not even my beloved fellow book club members know (Hi FYADC! I love you. Please don’t hate me.) So here goes nothing...
Our fearless leader Megan likes to tell new arrivals to our club all about the way I became a member of the group. The story goes that I was sitting in Teaism (where our book club meets) one random Sunday, overheard a bunch of super-awesome people talking about a book I read, and (after deciding the the stars had aligned, fates collided, yadda yadda yadda) I introduced myself, handed over my email address and was suddenly a member of the greatest book club ever.
Thing is - that’s not exactly true. Yes - it’s a wonderful story! But since I’ve decided to make this Honesty Hour here on FYA, it’s time to speak the truth. On that Sunday stars actually didn’t collide and I wasn’t just randomly in Teaism. I was there stalking FYADC.
I’d found the FYA website shortly after moving to Washington DC. When I discovered that there was a local book club, I was SO EXCITED to find a group of people who seemed to love the same books I loved. I was also filled with an overwhelming sense of dread (THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE IN A REAL CITY. WHAT IF THEY’RE ALL SO MUCH COOLER THAN I AM? WHAT IF THEY ALL THINK I’M SOME GIANT WEIRDO? I was a 22-yr old recent grad. It was a rough life.). So for months I kept trying to work up the courage to visit the book club. I read the books they read, but when that fourth Sunday of the month rolled around, I just couldn’t do it. Luckily, I’d found a fellow YA lover at my office who also read the site and wanted to join the club. So in January, we finally decided we’d just go to Teaism, and hang out. If we saw the group, then maybe we’d say hi. Maybe we’d back out. Maybe we weren’t cool enough. SO MANY MAYBES.
We sat a few tables over, and just kind of eavesdropped on their conversation. They seemed like a lot of fun! I wanted to be one of them. Finally, towards the end of their discussion, I gathered up all of my courage, walked over to the table, and introduced myself. I said that I just happened to overhear their conversation and that I read that book as well, and asked if they were looking for new members. Everyone was just so nice and excited! I handed over my email address to Megan, and the rest is history.
Holiday gift swap from the past two years!
So why am I finally telling the truth after all these years? It’s because I realized how integral my book club has become to my life (I warned FYADC that this was going to get sappy. Consider this your official warning as well, readers). After an interruption in my book club attendance, I was roped back in last summer by this same scavenger hunt and I haven’t looked back. The women in this group have become some of my closest friends. Who else would answer my frantic emails at 10pm on a Saturday after I finally see Captain America 2 to tell me how it all fits in with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? What other people would all cram into my living room to marathon Lizzie Bennet Diaries for hours or give up their Monday nights to see Doctor Who in theaters because it is my birthday? These are the women who have encouraged me to embrace my inner fangirl (Megan calls it my latent superpower), shown me where to buy the best graphic t-shirts, tweeted me links about fun things like the Patriarchy, stood in line with me for hours just to see Billie Piper at AwesomeCon and came over on Valentine’s Day, abandoning husbands and boyfriends, to watch Veronica Mars and eat Nutella. Side note - I invited one of my non-book club friends to that viewing party. She walked in the door and we all ignored her for three minutes because we were in the middle of a Jess Mariano vs. Logan Huntzberger debate.
Sometimes I think about what my life would look like today without knowing FYADC. What would have happened if I never walked up to that table in Teaism and introduced myself? I don’t like to think about it too much because it makes me sad. I know that I’d probably be reading far less, watching boring television shows because no one else would have told me about the amazing torture that is Arrow, and generally kind of ashamed of the things I like. FYADC has taught me that I can love YA literature and sci-fi and analyze the terrible nonsense that is Steven Moffat’s showrunning without having to defend it to people who think it isn’t “cool” or “worthwhile.” They’ve also taught me that it’s okay to speak my mind when I disagree with everyone on a book (I will never love Jessica Darling. I just won’t) and to get a little dramatic about an OTP (specifically Rose Tyler and the Doctor. And Logan and Veronica. And Lizzie and Darcy. Okay, so I have a lot of feelings about things) without fear that I’ll be the weird, geeky girl. Mostly, they’ve taught me that there is a group of people out there for everyone, and I was lucky enough to have found mine at a tea shop in Washington, DC.
making us cry stopping by, Melissa! You can find DC FYABC on Goodreads, join their Google Group, or just show up at Teaism for their next meeting! (As you can see, that last tactic WORKS.) And follow their #YASummerShowdown progress on the #FYADC Tumblr!