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I Get By With a Little Help From My Book Club

San Ignacio, Belize

When you live on the road like we do, it’s easy to meet a lot of people. This is a really cool thing. However, when you live on the road, like we do, making close, personal friends, the kind you can call on at any hour to advise or help out with the latest mess you’ve gotten yourself into, doesn’t come easy. That’s why we consider ourselves so blessed to have made close, personal friends here in Belize that will remain in our hearts and part of our lives forever, whether we see them or get to be with them ever again. 

With that said, I’m switching gears.

Have you seen the movie Book Club? It was released this past year and stars Candice BergenJane FondaDiane Keaton and Mary Steenbergen. With headliners like these it piqued my interest. The characters are all about my age, kinda whacky and love to read books. I knew I had to see it. 

Now, I’ve never been the type that has had many “girlfriends.” I’ve never joined a group of ladies for “girl’s night out,” shopping trips, or “let’s do lunch” excursions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of friends in my life time, but not many close “girl” friends, and rarely have I participated in planned social gatherings of women. Because of this, I seldom was asked to Tupperware parties or soirees where groups of women get together and paint their toenails and trash men. Lucky me. It’s just not my thing.

But maybe, just maybe, a book club could be different…

Get Thee to a Book Club

Frankly, as ‘younger-adult’ Anel, I had two distinct ideas about book clubs.

In the first vision I saw a group of gals (who had all probably been sorority sisters) that sat around, drank wine and discussed The Help, embellishing upon the literary significance of Hilly’s front yard toilets. Phooey! 

The second image I had was of an older group of educated ladies with letters behind their names, who squeezed in time to discuss the merits of Dianne Fossey’s work with gorillas before they attended rallies to save the dayang newt, hug some trees and maybe even burn their bras. Well, that’s just not me either.

I really had no clue about what a book club really was. But, the “Book Club” movie really enchanted me and I knew I wanted to be a part of one.

So, about six months ago, at one of our rousing games of darts at Remo’s Roadhouse, I broached the subject with my friend Cathy (The Listener). 

Anel:  Hey Cathy have you seen that new movie, Book Club?

Cathy: (in a good mood because she just hit a bullseye) Woo hoo! Yeah, I saw it advertised. It looks awesome. Maybe we should all get together and watch it.

Anel: How about we all get together and DO it. What do you think about starting a book club? I’ve never been in one, have you?

Cathy: Never. But I’ve always wanted to and I read!!! A lot!!! Let’s see who else might be interested.

So, like social butterflies freshly emerging from our cocoons, we flitted and asked around getting these reactions:

Gayle (Sunshine Girl): YES!! I’m in!! We can have our first meeting at my house!

Kathryn (Brainiana): YES!! I’m in!! I’ve been in two and have the perfect book for our first read!

Laurie (Agent Organizer): YES!! I’m in!! I’ll pick a date and write email reminders to everyone.

Jackie (The Poetess): YES!! I’m in!! But I better warn you, Steven King always make me cry!

Jane (Invisible Diva): YES!! I’m in!!  I’ll bring food, as long as I don’t have to moderate!

And, just like that, between dart throws, the BELIZE BOOK BABES came into being.

To date, as a group, we’ve read six books. We’ve disagreed, concurred, analyzed, ventured far outside our reading comfort zones, bonded and thoroughly enjoyed sharing. Most importantly, we’ve enjoyed each other. We’ve added a few new members and I’m confident that the group will thrive long after John and I leave Belize.

For me, this group of ladies has helped me to discover a part of myself that I never knew existed. I now have girlfriends, real girlfriends, and am part of a remarkable group of strong women with incredible super powers. Here’s what I mean:

Cathy (The Listener)

Her Superpowers: 

Never sees a stranger…always listens to every word you have to say and makes you feel like it’s the most interesting thing she’s heard all day…gives great hugs…empathetic…truly loves people and has a huge heart.

Cathy, I love you my friend. You are my hero.

Jane (Invisible Diva)

Her Superpowers: 

Soft spoken…becomes a rock star when music is playing and a microphone is in her hand…solid and dependable…facilitates everyone around her behind the scenes…is a hospitality genius and makes everyone feel like they are part of her family.

Jane, I will miss you so much. You are my hero.


Gayle (Sunshine Girl)

Her Superpowers: 

Perky spreader of joy…exudes energy and happiness…boosts everyone’s attitude with her special “happy” glitter…giggles abound when she’s around…artist extraordinaire…upbeat…lively…positive…her cup always bubbles half full.

Gayle, it’s been so much fun giggling with you.  You are my hero. 


Jackie (The Poetess)

Her Superpowers: 

Sees and feels the world deeply…loves words…is always in the process of writing several books…finds inspiration in everything, every person, every event…insatiable curiosity…infectious smile…has the ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. 

Jackie, thank you for inspiring me to “keep on writing, keep on writing…” You are my hero.


Laurie (Agent Organizer)

Her Superpowers: 

Keenly alert to details…kitty whisperer…ability to pull everyone together…scheduling genius…always on time…superb communicator…focused and flexible multi-tasker…never meets a cat she can’t save.

Laurie, none of this would have happened without YOU! You are my hero!


Kathryn (Brainiana) 

Her Superpowers: 

Voracious reader…loves Jeopardy and crosswords…makes being nerdy cool…connects the dots with current events…researches tenaciously to find the truth…punctual and dependable…in love with learning.

Kathryn, I love and will miss you girlfriend. You are my hero.

We will be leaving Belize in a couple of weeks and I am so grateful to the Belize Book Babes for giving this nerdy, wimpy girl a place to be myself, belong and feel loved. Each one of you is permanently etched into the essence of me.  You’ve made me a better person and I love each one of you.

So as not to get too sentimental, sappy and maudlin, I’ll end with a quote from the movie “The Book Club,” as Jane Fonda’s character Vivian exclaims:  

“So, come on! Let’s toast to our new book. Drink up. Hoist that glass. Happy reading, ladies!”



This past week the incredible comic book genius, Stan Lee, left this world. Since I was a little girl, he has been my hero. He would have loved the Belize Book Babes and each member’s amazing super powers. This one’s for you Stan! 


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