Friday, November 06, 2009

My Reading Group

The founder member of my Reading Group asked us today when we actually began to meet,so we looked at our book list and realised that we have been meeting since 2003.  We started with Cider with Rosie, which was an excellent first book choice.  Most of us had read it before, and like all great novels may be savoured again and again.
So here we all were . We meet as always on the first Friday in the month in the warmth and luxury of Filey Library. I was looking round the table as we all sat tonight waiting to hear what we all thought of The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. Four of us and the redoubtable Filey Librarian , now a much appreciated friend and mentor have been talking about the books since that very first meeting. We none of us knew each other. The common thread was that we all knew the Library and She of the Books. The joy of the group is that we are not bound by other ties that bind. Any threads between us are purely optional, and no between meeting threads affect the interaction of the monthly group.
Both my sisters belong to a Reading group in their libraries.  They are not as good as ours. Cheshiresister gets her reading list a year in advance.  Now I ask you what fun is there in that?  We sit there like schoolgirls waiting for the next copy of Romeo as the books are brought out from under the Library counter, a neat pile, spines in, secret still .Then at revelation there are gasps and outbursts, as those who have read it before smirk, and those who have never heard of the author wish they had.
At Hullsisters Reading group there is a domination of know it alls ,with superior speech, and an academic zeal. At my Reading group we do not exactly show off, we just have restrained foreknowledge and know that it will be revealed as our turn to speak comes , like a rabbit out of the magicians hat.We all know each other well enough to have a good time, almost a girls night out without the night.The joy is that we really have no idea of what any one will say. J like me love detective novels, but I never can read one and and think that she will like it too, I am always surprised by what she says.  Some months I agree with every word she says. Next month we are poles apart. We are all so completely ourselves.
Mostly we read novels. Last month we didn't. We read Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama. I didnt get around to reading it, and neither can I fathom how Barack Obama got around to writing it with all the Career building he was doing at the time.
We do not discuss the minutiae of  grammar , we are not longwinded, we speak plainly and from the heart. We have three authors amongst us. One should be published and cannot get a publisher, one is self-published. Our group is an eclectic mix of personalities too.  We would not get on at all if we had to work together, or share a kitchen. We laugh alot. The dynamics of the group are expertly fuelled and channelled by our Filey Librarian, whose leadership skills are maturing nicely.

I have  just looked at my list of the 60 or so books we have shared over the years.  The one that everyone hated was Shadowmancer by Graham Taylor, local vicar turned author, writing about Boggle Hole and Robin Hoods Bay with christian undercurrents. I loved it. The one that everyone loved but I hated was 'Nobbut a lad ' by Alan Titchmarsh. Not a patch on' A Yorkshire Boyhood 'by Roy Hattersley I thought.
'Suite Francaise' by Irene Nemirovsky has to be the find of the decade in Book Groups.
'Random Acts of Heroic love' by Danny Scheimann is the book that everyone  thought was so clever, but I didnt get.
'Half a Yellow Sun' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is probably the book that I would make all young people read. For me it explains the problems of the world condensed into the experiences of one  or is it three African Countries.

What did we think of 'The Double Bind'? Well we do not agree in any way with Selby Library's Book Club who loved it, except for J.

1 comment:

  1. I hated random thoughts of heroic love Margaret. Didn't get the chance to say how much as it was one of our social meetings and we didn't really talk about it. Barack Obama's book is beautifully written. You should read it. Not just another politician's memoir- he is a real writer.