New Book Group

Having settled into my new surroundings one of the things that I wanted to do was expand my circle of local friends.  I chose where I was going to move to quite deliberately because I already knew a good number of people living here, but they are all  from within a certain circle and I thought it would be good to broaden that out.  The obvious way forward was to join a(nother) book group, but there were certain problems with that.  Firstly, the local library group already has sixteen members, which I consider too many for a decent discussion, and secondly, I belong to two groups which read and discuss specified novels and having two books a month dictated by other people’s tastes is quite enough, thank you.  So, I approached the library about starting a different sort of group, although one that I have had experience of before, and this evening we are to have our first meeting.

The idea is very simple.  We (no more than a dozen or it becomes impractical) will meet once a month to each talk briefly about what we have read since the last time we got together.  There are all sorts of benefits to this sort of group.  No one feels any pressure to read something they are not enjoying.  There isn’t the problem of everyone trying to get hold of limited library copies of the same book.  (The librarians particularly like that aspect!) You can come along even if you are still struggling with whatever you were trying to read last month and simply comment on your progress or lack thereof.  It doesn’t matter how you have accessed the book; there is one young woman interested  who is blind and always uses audiobooks. And, perhaps most importantly, you get to ‘meet’ new authors that you might never otherwise have thought of reading.  This is how I first came across writers like Patrick Gale and Richard Russo, now both ‘must reads’ as far as I’m concerned. This latter point can mean that even though we don’t set out to be a discussion group discussion will often arise because over time a number of people will have read the same book and inevitably have a variety of views about it.  (Note to self: don’t damn anything outright, it might be someone else’s favourite ever book and you may never see them again.)

I have no idea how many are going to turn up this evening.  We have advertised the group in the library and in the local newspapers.  (The Bears were very aggrieved that only my picture turned up in the Bromsgrove Standard; they thought it would have been much more effective if they had been included as well, probably quite rightly.) I am expecting at least four but the librarians say they have had several enquiries from people who haven’t spoken to me so it could be that we are full from the word go.  I shall just have to wait and see.  Further reports as the week progresses!


24 thoughts on “New Book Group

  1. BookerTalk October 22, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    What an interesting concept. A lot of the book groups in our libraries tend to focus on popular fiction which isn’t my thing at all. I like the idea that you can talk about books without having to buy any or read anything that doesn’t appeal.


    • Café Society October 22, 2018 / 7:48 pm

      It’s a much more relaxed way of going about things, I think. I shall report later in the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A Life in Books October 22, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    I do like the sound of this kind of book group. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out for you.


    • Café Society October 22, 2018 / 7:48 pm

      Let’s hope enough local readers feel the same way!


  3. kaggsysbookishramblings October 22, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    That sounds like a really good premise for a book group. I’ve always avoided them because I know I would either dislike the book chosen, or never get through it in time. But talking about what you’ve been reading is really what I like to do on my blog and with other blogs I follow so it would just be a real life version of that. Good luck!


  4. Cathy746books October 22, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    I like the sound of your group, look forward to hearing how it goes!


  5. Rohan October 22, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    What a good idea for meeting new people (something I really struggle with). I agree about having too many books kind of imposed—this is a good way around that. At my one book group we do often wind up with some general “what we’ve been reading lately” discussion and it definitely brings new names and titles to all of us.


    • Café Society October 23, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Yes, I struggle as well, Rohan. I’m not really comfortable in social situations that lack a structure. Not a party girl I’m afraid. This format is just formal enough for me to feel happy in it.


  6. FictionFan October 22, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    Sounds like a great way to get to know new people – and find new authors! Have fun – hope it goes well.


  7. Elle October 22, 2018 / 11:54 pm

    How exciting! I think that’s a really cool idea – fingers crossed for good turnout and discussion.


    • Café Society October 23, 2018 / 9:40 am

      And a repeat turnout, Elle. That will be the proof of the pudding.


      • Elle October 23, 2018 / 2:26 pm

        Yes – I’m sure it will be great though!


  8. Kazen October 23, 2018 / 9:20 am

    I love how low stress this is. Best of luck!


    • Café Society October 23, 2018 / 9:41 am

      That’s the idea, Kazen. I definitely don’t need any more stress at the moment.


  9. Laila@BigReadingLife October 23, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    That sounds lovely! I hope it went well and that you have lots of return members.


  10. Liz October 25, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    This is a great idea and I look forward to hearing more about how it all goes. I only wish I was around the corner and could attend!


  11. Annabel (AnnaBookBel) October 25, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Fingers crossed that it went brilliantly for you. My book group always has a quick round the table for the best book or books we read last month and I add all the books mentioned to our email report. We don’t have the time to explore this further though, but everyone always says – put that book in the email!


  12. Rebecca Foster October 29, 2018 / 10:55 am

    I’ve heard of one example of this kind of book club before (Army wives in the States). It’s a really refreshing idea, because so many people can struggle to finish an ‘assigned’ book, even if it’s only 200 pages and they thought they were interested in it. With your model they can continue to read by their whims and be honest about their experiences. (Though maybe not too honest – as you’ve noted, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in case an author you hated is their favourite!) I’m a few months into involvement with a new neighbourhood book club and it’s going well so far, though we only get 4-5 turning up regularly so have advertised for a few more members and will throw out ideas for future reads at this Thursday’s meeting. I’ll look forward to hearing more about how yours goes.


  13. smithereens October 30, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    What a great idea! I eagerly wait for your report, I hope it went well!


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