Last October I decided to do something new (better than buy something new).
A continental style cafe had just opened near us and was starting a book group. Great opportunity, I thought, to discipline myself to read more and to get out and meet people.
I bravely went along to the initial meeting where we politely chatted and put our top three suggestions for a book to discuss into a hat. The titles for the first few months were drawn: Water For Elephants, The Finkler Question and Room.
So I had a whole month to read and digest a new novel. BLISS. I sped read it the weekend before. Panic set in like I hadn't experienced since I was fifteen. Was this for fun, where's the DVD, isn't that what students do nowadays? I speculated.
At the next meeting the coffee was pleasant but the conversation was stilted. No one would actually say that the book wasn't that great (why had we chosen it?). We seemed to be sticking to a script that the leader had found on a website. A third meeting was planned - right I'll give it another go, it will warm up next time, I hoped. This time two people dominated the group. One who openly hadn't read the book (she could have least read the end) yet still
managed to talk about it and everything else under the sun. And another just fresh from hanging up her graduation gown who thought no one else in our small city had ever been educated. I had some pretty compelling things to say about that book but I decided to keep my own counsel.
Reader, I never went back. Maybe I was unlucky, I don't know. We just didn't seem to gel and I didn't trust the group with my most profound thoughts. I'll stick to Richard and Judy's website and swapping books with my friends and family. Because I think reading should be relaxing, an escape. As it says on the poster: 'My book club reads wine labels'.
But if anyone's got any recommendations of books or good experiences of book groups then I'd love to hear.