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LoveReading Book Club Feature #11: Old Swan Book Club

Deborah Maclaren

By Deborah Maclaren on 3rd June 2019

This month's book club is The Old Swan Book Club, a friendly community club from Liverpool. 

When did your Book Club launch? 

September 2017.

How did that come about?

The idea popped into my head – divine inspiration! So I put the word out on social media. Seventy people expressed an interest, which was far more than I ever expected.

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

The club now has a Facebook group of about 100, and those who can’t make the meetings keep up with our book choices that way. About 15 of us meet up once every 6 weeks to chat about our latest read. We take a group picture for Twitter, and I tag the author. We realise how much work goes into writing and we like to show our appreciation. 

Describe your book club in three words.

Local, friendly, community

How do you choose your books?

Anyone can suggest a book. We don’t read horror or anything too high-brow. We’ve tended to stick to the traditionally published books but I’m sure it won’t be long before self-published books appear on our reading list.

How often do you meet?

About once every 6 weeks

Where do you meet?

A local independent pub.

What is the format of your meetings?

Half an hour to buy drinks (G&T is the favourite), 8pm start, end 9pm ish, depending on how much there is to discuss. Then another drink for those who want.

What are you reading right now?

Home, by Amanda Berriman

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

Paperbacks and e-books are our thing. 

What were your top 3 books of 2018?

I See You - Claire Mackintosh

Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

What is your favourite book of 2019 so far?

The Cactus, because the author is a friend of mine and very bravely joined us to answer our questions! It was fascinating to peek behind-the-scenes. 

Do you collectively have a favourite author? 

Claire Mackintosh would be the one so far, although we all loved A Boy Made of Blocks, so who knows, Keith Stuart might be in the running!

Do you collectively have a favourite genre?

Not really, just not high-brow/ too literary. 

Has there been a particular highlight of your time together? 

Yes! One of our members had an amazing idea for our Christmas party – a Secret Santa book swap. Everyone brought a wrapped book from their own book-shelf, one they enjoyed, so it didn’t cost a penny. It was lovely to receive a book you might not have thought to choose for yourself.

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

Find out how other book clubs run and adapt what they do to suit your setting and members. Ask your local library for help too. Our librarians at Old Swan library are fabulous!

Follow The Old Swan Book Club on social media: 

Twitter: 

@OldSwanAlive - Community magazine, keeping the community informed of groups like the book club.

@BetterOldSwan (NHS research project looking at resilience and health inequalities in Old Swan, I'm part of this, reading for health)

@emmavprior (Personal account, followed by writer-folks and a few fab authors) 

Additionally, the Facebook group associated with these twitter accounts post regularly. 

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