Seventh Grade at Chute Middle School changed my life for the good and the bad. The good was this whole new world that opened up to me. I had a 5th grade reading level when I entered 7th grade. But my homeroom teacher, Mr. Murphy, got me all the help that I needed. I was pulled out of class to work one on one with a Language Arts specialist. And then in 8th grade, I landed Dr. Lorraine Morton as my homeroom teacher. And Mama Morton, as we called her, opened my world to literature, and that opened my mind and touched my heart. I learned Sojourner Truth’s speech Ain't I a Woman in that class and it gave me life, and sent me on a search for more.
Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. In my darkest hour a book became my protection. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me. I read at least a book a month to three books a week.
I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. I don’t think I will ever be an electronic book person. I love the actual book itself. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books. So here goes... I’m organizing a book club! I find that every time I tweet that I’m reading, one of my followers wants to know what I’m reading.
So I’ve decided to organize a Twitter Book Club. It’s not limited to people on Twitter, but it certainly evolved out of Twitter. It will be an online book club with a live feed through my blog and Twitter. If it goes well then maybe the Chicago readers will meet in person. This book club will be reading and tea with Rae. They are two of the things that bring me joy that AIDS can never take away as long as I have a breath in my body that I want to share with you.
The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.
Twitter. Let me know if you want to join. We will be reading a new book every 6-8 weeks depending on the size of the book.
I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this new venture. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. I can’t wait to get started! We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. I hope that it will be yet another legacy I leave behind. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?
Everyone who has already joined or who wants to join, please send me your email and the top five books that you have ever read in your life. I will at some point choose a book from your list.