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Book Club Dianne Selfie

World Reading Day-what's in a book club?

I've always wanted to be part of a book club & I finally am thanks to Emma-Jayne Gooch who, in the words of Nike, opted to "just do it" when she wanted to be part of one. While I've always had the ambition when Emma-Jayne asked me why I hadn't just set one up I reflected that I'd probably held back because I didn't quite know how a book club would work. So I thought World Reading Day was an ideal opportunity to share some of the lessons we've already learned two meetings in and as we approach our second book.

How to start? Well, the first thing you need obviously is people! Bringing together a group of your friends who enjoy reading, some of whom will know each other and some of whom won't is a great starting place. There's some practical things which Emma-Jayne put in place:

  1. Where will you meet? So we've chosen to rotate. One member of the group volunteers each month to host the next month, this could be at their home or somewhere else (see later for something exciting coming up in a future meeting!) The host will also choose the book we'll read as we approach their meeting.
  1. A whatsapp group, or other communication channel. helps to maintain the conversation between meetings.

How do you choose a book? Now I hosted the second meeting & agonised over the book choice. Here's some things to consider:

  • choose something that's easily available-preferably in libraries and second hand book shops so no-one is struggling to get hold of it.
  • Is it available as an audio book for those that prefer to listen to their reading?
  • Don't choose something that's too long-remember everyone reads at a different speed and for some people reading something the size of Lord of the Rings for example in one month would be too much of a challenge.

I was finally inspired by the news and chose Betty Boothroyd: The Autobiography. Now I'm not normally a big biography reader but I thought for a women's book club reading about a woman who was born into a working-class family and became the Speaker of the House in a male dominated environment with polarised opinions would be a good choice.

Then I began to worry about how the meeting would work. In our first meeting we talked about what genres we enjoyed and why. This was a great way of starting the bonding of the group and gave us insights into each other's characters. But how could we frame the conversation about the book we read in the second meeting. Well I did what we all do at these moment & googled book club hints……then suggested we each ask a question based on the book. Turned out this was a great way to start and continue the conversation and led to deep conversations about toxic relationships, between friends as well as partners, the role of friends in helping you deal with difficult situations and the sharing of some of our life experiences.

I don’t' want to give the wrong impression though because this sounds like it was a heavy conversation & I can assure you it wasn't.

We laughed lots. Uproariously.

So my final thought for you dear reader is if like me you've always wanted to be part of a book club set one up. Message a few friends now. Use some of our experience or do something different but in a wider life lesson you don't need to know all the answers at the start, make a start and figure it all out as you go. Mainly though have fun with it.

I'd also love to hear your reading recommendations. Let me know in the comments below.

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