My writing groups, my reading groups (i)

A writing friend

and I have a challenge which we set ourselves to write blogs on 73 given subjects. After the first twenty-five on a list we found, the suggestions became repetitive and not so interesting and engaging. A challenge is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be dull! We have now made up our own titles and the next on my list was set by my writing chum. He posed the question, which was my favourite reading and writing group, and why. I can’t strictly answer that because I can’t differentiate, I like all the groups I’m a member of! I belong to two writing groups and a sub group, and two reading groups.

I joined one reading group many many years ago; I didn’t know any of the other members although one of them was someone I knew of as she lived in our village. Another person I sat next to seemed a very jolly, interesting person and I felt she would be a lot of fun. Everyone was really pleasant and friendly and we had a great discussion – I think we’d read On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, but I may be mistaken. I felt a little daunted as I didn’t really like the book but everyone else did. From that first meeting, the group has changed greatly, and now four of us still meet every month, along with two other friends who have been with us for ages and ages. We are a group of friends, because that’s what we have become, and we socialise and meet up from time to time other than the evenings we meet to discuss our books. Goodness knows how many books we’ve discussed over the years, I reckon we’ve been meeting for about twelve years, so that’s at least 120 books as sometimes such things as Christmas interfere with our schedule! We read all sorts of books, fiction, non-fiction, but I think we do tend to read more women writers than men, not for any reason, just the way it happens. I think I’m probably the person who is the most difficult reader, in that I am very fussy – although I do try to be positive! I shall certainly be positive at our next socially distanced meeting, we’re reading the marvellous Beast by Chris Speck, which I recommended.

My other book club which I possibly joined about the same time as the one mentioned above, started in Waterstone’s book shop, and was at first led by one the lovely people who worked there. We didn’t have to read any particular book, or book of the month, or anything other than what we chose. Over the years there have been far more members than the other group where we take it in turns to host meetings at home. In this book club, meeting in the store, there’s been a far wider age-range of members, and some blokes too! This has meant there has also been a far wider choice of different books, and if we are stuck for an idea for next month, we just look along the shelves! The slight difficulty is that as we meet when the shop is open, sometimes it’s busy and noisy, and with so many of us, sometimes up to a dozen, it happens that we break into smaller groups and discuss our thoughts and opinions with whoever is nearest us as we can’t hear what others are saying. It matters not, we always have a great time and again I have made some brilliant friends.

This has become a longer challenge than I anticipated! I shall share news of my writing groups tomorrow!

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