I belong to two book clubs; the first one I came across when I had been working at the college for a while and saw a notice on an information board about a new book club starting – not within the college, just started by a few friends who worked there. I worked in a different part of the college and didn’t know them, but I rang up, got details and went along to meet the group. I think there were maybe about a dozen of us, maybe ten, and we met in someone’s beautiful and comfortable house. I sat down next to another woman on a very comfortable and squishy settee and she glanced at me and smiled as she said hello and there was something about the twinkle in her eye which immediately make me think that I would like her when I got to know her, and that she would become a friend… and in fact I was right! There were another couple of people I remember from those early days, one of whom is still a book group friend of mine! This book club continued for a while, but gradually the members fell away until there were a half dozen or so of us who met in each other’s houses. A core of four of us have remained good friends and book groupers ever since!
Some time after that I saw a notice in Waterstone’s bookshop about another reading group; I was quite friendly with one of the assistants and I asked her about it and so joined another new book group! In the early days there were all sorts of different people, and to be honest, some of them were quite strange, one of them tried to dominate the group in a rathe tiresome way and in contrast there was another couple who never said anything and never seemed to have read the book being discussed! This group has ebbed and flowed over the years, but as ever with people who love reading, there were several who have now become very close friends – and one who was already a close friend, the lovely husband of the twinkly eyed lady I met on the first meeting of the other group! There was a man with a mischievous air who I learned was a poet, a beautiful woman who had an ethereal air and the sweetest nature, another woman who had recently arrived in the town from London and I immediately suspected might also become a friend – she reminded me of naughty school friends when I was also somewhat of a naughty school girl myself! The bookshop lady was gradually drawn away from the group, having to work in the shop rather than sit with a gang of book lovers! For a while I sort of co-ordinated it until one day a beautiful and very striking woman with flame red hair enquired about the group as we sat chatting away. Everyone made welcoming comments, and next month she returned to join us! By this time, the other book group was depleted of members for various reasons and the twinkly-eyed lady’s husband asked our new red-haired friend in the Waterstones group to join us! This charming lady also graciously assumed the role of co-ordinator of Waterstone’s reading group – which has been no easy task over the past eighteen months when she has held us together by Zoom, and at last by actual meetings fuelled by tea!
As ever with such groups, although we did discuss the book we’d all read, we talked about other things, and one of the things which seemed a constant was writing – hardly surprising for book lovers! Out of that a writing group emerged! There were half a dozen readers/writers from the Waterstones group, and a couple of the same from the other group, plus some friends of various members. This group now meets once a month, has just published its second anthology, and is pondering on collating our stories for a third! From that writing group, a gang of four have emerged – all of us from the original Waterstones book club! Surprise surprise, one was the mischievous poet, one the other-worldly lady, and one who had reminded me of fun friends from school! This is the group with whom I go on writing retreats, and in fact, in three weeks time we are going on our fifth get-away, and will be staying in gypsy caravans – how fantastic is that?
I really have been most fortunate with my reading groups because I’ve found so many good and close friends, had lots of adventures, and have had great support with my writing! Best of all, I’ve had tremendous fun, and look forward to much more!!