Two nights ago I had the first meeting of a new book club I have started. Notice my reluctance to use the phrase (my new book club). I am now the proud member (owner) of two book groups. Book Group 1 is a work book group. I work as a chorister for a London opera company. We work very anti-social hours and as a result are a pretty anti-social bunch. Actually, I don’t want to be unfair to my colleagues….as and when we have some free time we leg it back home to see our long suffering families who are more often than not, lumbered with the unenviable task of looking after the children during the witching hour. Also, probably due to our hours, we don’t tend to mix with other departments. My hope is that eventually, members of other departments will come to book club and we will have a bit of cross-departmental-book-based banter.
I am really happy with how we pick the books for this book club. We have what is known as ‘The Sorting Hat.’ It isn’t a hat…it’s a box. Throughout the month, members put suggestions into the hat/box. Books they have read and think would provide great discussion, books they would like to read and books that have been sitting on their shelves for yonks. About a week before we are due to meet, the box is given to a member. He or she picks out 3 titles they would like to read and does a bit of research on them. At the meeting, these titles are presented to the group and we we vote on which book we would like to read for the next month. This system seems to work really well. It means that each person has a turn to pick a book and we get a varied mix of titles and genres.
We meet monthly. Usually in between rehearsals or shows. This weekend we are discussing Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. We will also be in the middle of stage rehearsals for Iolanthe. As a result we will be discussing this novel about the plague dressed as fairies and peers from the House of Lords.
Book Club 2 (new book club) is based in the area of London where I live. Since having children, this area feels like a village which is so wonderful in an often anonymous and unfriendly city. The group is comprised mainly of mums and dads. People I have met through dropping my children at nursery and school, NCT, next door neighbours. As it is a FB group people have also found the club who have no connection to me at all. People who are new to the area and who want to make friends. How wonderful!!!!
As this is the second book club I have run, I feel confident to choose the books. I subscribe to a lot of book based podcasts, blogs etc so I am confident that I am recommending good books. Once a month I do a poll on FB. I put forward 3 books. Book 1 will be a Classic, book 2 is something that is in the charts now or something that has won a recent award and book 3 is a bit of a wild card ….basically anything else that has caught my eye. Members of the club vote on which book they would like to read.
As we are about to enter the Month of Lurve I have ordered Mills and Boon novels for members of both book groups. A few years ago, I listened to a podcast where members of a book group did this exact thing and it was absolutely hilarious. Whatever our thoughts are on Mills and Boon, I know this will give us a giggle, and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it????? Reading because it makes us happy????