I go to a book club every month.
I joined it when I first moved back to the area where I grew up after escaping for over ten years. I was 28, I’d been living in Australia with an Aussie guy I fully expected to marry and settle down with and had moved back to my parents temporarily while my permanent visa was processed. Turns out, Aussie guy didn’t have the same expectations as me and dumped me via text within a week or two of me being home. So I cried and felt sorry for myself for a while, quite a while if I’m honest. Then I decided to sort myself out.
One of the first things I did was join a book club. Not the most obvious thing to do perhaps but perfect for me. A reason to go out and stop moping. A way to meet new people who weren’t going to ask me how I was feeling and make me cry again. And books. Reading is a love, a passion, always has been and always will be. So a book club was the most perfect, most obvious thing for me to do.
That was in 2006. I loved it then, and I love it now, possibly even more.
It was a fairly new club when I found it online. (How did we ever cope before the internet?) There are now seven members. People from such diverse ages and backgrounds we would never have met without book club, let alone become friends. (And I’ve said before how tricky I find it to relax and make friends so having a forced topic of conversation was wonderful at first.) We have shared so much since the early days – three marriages, six babies (so far), a retirement, house moves and a successful battle against cancer. It means I get an evening out to sit, drink wine, eat grown up nibbles and chat – a rare event which I love and look forward to.
And of course there’s the books.
Each book club runs in a different way. We take it in turns to bring a short list of titles to meetings then together the rest of us vote to choose the one we’re going to read. The only rule is it has to be something none of us have read before. We all, obviously, tend to put together our shortlists according to our own interests so naturally we have been introduced to books outside our usual choices. I love historical fiction, and thanks to book club I have read books set in the past, present and future, all over the world and outer space. Some have been wonderful, others less so, some absolutely dire!
I want to share some of the joys of book club here. I’ll write reviews of some of the books we read (and not just the ones I love).
Unfortunately for you, dear reader, the evening out with wine, nibbles and chat about everything else will remain just for me and my book club friends…