I wrote earlier about our different world. Something I wrote three years ago about book clubs really brought it home – but also reminded me of some of the great books I have read:
I mentioned previously that it was our history book club yesterday Within the genre we read many sub-genres, a biography of Dickens, by Claire Tomalin fiction such as Revelation by C.J. Sansom and The Silver Pigs by Lyndsey Davis. factual books, for example The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, a true crime story, The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale, and yesterday another novel The English Passengers. by Matthew Kneale
Joining this group has taken me to different books – I might have read Sansom, Summerscale and reread Kneale, but I don’t think I would have picked up the Silk Roads or the Dickens biography. So in a book sense, the history group has taken me to new writers and different subjects. I’ve also met new people which is always a bonus in any situation, and those new people have had different lives and experiences from mine. Because it is a completely different group with no overlap to any other group that I’m in, it works in a different way somehow, discussions go in different directions, things are discussed (such as neolithic axes yesterday) which aren’t talked about anywhere else. The group meet in the leader’s elegant and historic house, Glebe House an early nineteenth century rectory. very near Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare – so near that if you have a key, you can access the park through a door in the park wall.
I belong to two other groups, one is now more of a group of friends who meet and chat and exchange news, have a glass of wine or two and a few nibbles, then talk about whatever book we’ve chosen. I must have been in this group for nearly fifteen years, so much water has passed under many bridges, and many books have been read. We also meet socially, going to the theatre and on little bookish trips – we did try to plan a few days away together but we all lead such busy lives! We meet in each other’s houses so in a geographical sense I’ve visited several different places in town, which I would not have been to otherwise. One of the members started a class for adult learners of English and eight years ago, I joined to help out; I trained as an E2L/ESOL/ whatever it’s now called, teacher, so I was in my element, and I actually led the class for three years. Through that I made friends with other teachers, and with the ‘students’ too, some of whom are still my friends.
The other book club I belong to meets at Waterstone’s bookshop, and I don’t know how long I’ve been a member – I was one of the first and I think we met about fifteen years ago. We too are now a good bunch of friends; various others have joined and left over the years, but now we seem quite a settled bunch. We’re not constrained by our location in choice of books, and because we are such a varied crowd ranging in age from young to not so young, and men and women, the choices of books we have are wide-ranging, always trying to find something a little different, and maybe out of our comfort zone.
In this last book club, I’ve also made many friends, and an off-shoot from this was that we started a new writing-group. We’ve been operating for about eighteen months, and I hope to make an announcement soon about an anthology we are going to publish!
You see, you never know where book clubs will take you!
My featured image is of Lyme Regis… one of the places belonging to a book club took me!