In recent years being part of a book club has become de-rigour for any self respecting, book loving gal or guy. Books have been written about book clubs (The Jane Austen Book Club). Films have been made about books about book clubs (again The Jane Austen Book Club). As a nation of book lovers we read books, and then we talk about them, ideally with a glass of Pinot and a few choice nibbles.
The book Club I am part of is a little different. It was started almost 10 years ago by my lovely friend and fellow book worm Karen, and has been a constant source of reading pleasure and challenge. Many of our 11 strong , unintentionally all female group don’t know each other, we’ve never met, we come from various parts of the UK and various walks of life. Our common bond is our love of reading.
So how does it work? Well, firstly our reading year begins on the 1st October (today!) secondly being geographically diverse we are dependent on Royal Mail to connect our members with their books and thirdly we operate in a circular fashion….Stay with me, I promise this will all make sense in a moment.
Having deliberated long and hard over which book I want to share this year, I have sealed it into a jiffy bag, with a note book detailing why I selected the particular book and as a place for the rest of the group to share their thoughts on my book. My book is now winging it’s way to the person who is in front of me in the circle. In the next day or so I should receive a book from the member who is behind me in the circle.
We have a month to read the book we receive, before sending it on again (always to the same person) and receiving our next book for that month. Over the course of the next 11 months we each read every other members book and make our written comments. Early in September, with great excitement we are all reunited with our own, some what battered and well read books along with our notebooks now brimming with everyone’s comments.
Oh, but it doesn’t end there my friends. Oh no, we then vote. Our founder extraordinaire sends out a voting paper with a list of all the books we have read that year. We anonymously vote for our top three and a winner is announced later in the year. I’m just a little bit too proud of being the first ever winner in year one with my choice of ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger (one of my all time favourite books).
I love my book club, even when I don’t necessarily love that month’s particular book. I love being challenged to read something different. I’ve been introduced to many authors I many not have discovered otherwise, many of which I have gone on to read more of.
As a group we have read 99 different books since we started. Members have come and gone, but our ethos as a group has remained unchanged. I am so thankful to Karen who started this group all those years ago, and I am just excited about it today as I was when the group started in 2005. I can guarantee that I will be eagerly awaiting delivery of the first book of my brilliant book clubs new year.
Are you part of a book club and what do you enjoy most about it?