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LoveReading Book Club Feature #3: Derby Book and Cake Club

By Liz Robinson on 21st September 2018

We are loving hearing from all of our Book Clubs, people coming together over a mutual love of books, This month it's the turn of the Derby Book and Cake Club (what an amazing combination!). We want to make the most of our Book Club serial, which means offering book clubs (who usually meet once a month and whose members and organisers have jobs and life commitments to attend to too!) a little more time to get back to us. This means we'll get a more in-depth insight into their book communities.

Don't worry we haven't stopped looking for Book Clubs, and if you would love to get involved with this feature then get in touch at Liz@lovereading.co.uk.

This time we celebrated the pleasure of books and the new perspectives and insights offered by the friendly discussions of a book club by talking to the founder of the Derby Book and Cake Club, Ria Tesia...

When did your book club launch? And how did that come about?

It came to be around March 2015. After relocating to Derby to live with my boyfriend, I found I wanted to explore my hobbies of reading and baking, whilst also expanding my friend circle. All the people I knew "back in the day" when I had studied in Derby had moved on. And so it was, with slight trepidation, that I put a message on a notice-board, calling all bibliophiles who also loved cake (either eating or baking it). A few messaged, and in the end, there were about five of us turned up at the designated meet-up spot, at a local pub in the village. We have eight members at the moment, and they're the core of us who are loyal book and cake-clubbers. I personally haven't missed a single meeting, a streak that I don't ever want to break. 

Talk to me about how it’s developed over the years.

It has grown from a being just a meeting where people talk about books and cake, to a lovely convivial group that has fostered fun and friendship. 

Describe your book club in three words.

Fun, friends, fabulous. 

How do you choose your books?

Mini web-tool, which is a random name picker. I input the names of the members into the app, then I get one of the other members to "hit select". A name is then drawn at random, and the whole procedure takes around one minute. It keeps it fair this way. In the past, we'd shout out recommendations, but then it took ages to choose a book. At least with the random name-picker, there is no on-the-spot pressure to choose a book (the person tasked with choosing their book of the month has around 3 days to come up with something). 

How often do you meet?

Once a month.

Where do you meet?

At a local pub most times, sometimes at a restaurant. We have to clear it with the eaterie first, if they're OK for us to bring our own cake in. So far, we've never had anyone decline us (touches wood), in fact bar/pub/restaurant owners are generally quite pleased and glad of our patronage. 

What is the format of your meetings?

We meet at 6:30pm, grab a drink from the bar, then plunk down and catch-up, as old friends do. After around 10 minutes or so, book chat commences, and the cake tasting begins. 

What are you reading right now?

This month's book is Rowan Coleman's The Summer of Impossible Things

Do you have a favourite format of book? (hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook)?

We love paperbacks; some of us are trying to limit screen-time, being on the computer all day, and reading a book is a good way to escape this. On the flip-side, there are some whose eye-sight isn't great, and the Kindle allows enlarging of fonts. It's all down to personal preference, and what works for you. 

What is your favourite book of 2018 so far?

Small Great Things by Jodie Picoult was pretty special, and it is rare that we all agree on how great a book was. 

Inspired by our love of this book we came up with a novel idea. We set a challenge for the bar-tender - giving him 10 keywords and asking if he could create a cocktail inspired by the book. A novel idea!

Do you collectively have a favourite author?

Our tastes vary greatly, so we don't have one author in particular as one favourite. However, one genre that is a hot favourite is the psychological thriller

Has there been a particular highlight of your time together?

Every meeting is a highlight! We meet once a month (more if there is a social, like a dinner planned). It is time enjoyed with friends and well spent in stellar company. Another highlight is being challenged to read books that otherwise we wouldn't have chosen. 

If you were to give anyone out there some advice on setting up a Book Club what would it be?

Just go for it. Don't be scared, there are people out there in the same boat as you, who love books and who want to have book-related conversations too. Put messages in book groups, print a few flyers and leave at your local library / café. Choose a place that is convenient to meet. Good luck with setting one up!