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This month, we hear from a Book Club based in the North-East of England. Born of a group of friends who loved to talk about books, The Buddies book club is named after an adorable Westie (pictured below with the other four-legged honorary book club members).
Without further ado, I will hand you over to The Buddies.
Our book club comprises of 8 friends (7 General Nurses who worked together on a critical care unit and 1 Mental Health Nurse). We all live in close proximity to each other in the North East of England. Before the idea of a book club was conceived we used to chat about the books we were reading and would sometimes recommend or swap books with each other. After a gradual drift away from our workplace we decided that a book club would be a way of bringing good friends together on a regular basis so we embarked on our journey of literary discovery in 2013.
We decided that we would host the book club in our homes on a rotational basis and that we would meet flexibly, approximately every 6 weeks, though this can be extended to 8 weeks during holiday periods.
We are sometimes inspired to dish up themed food which definitely adds to our fun and enjoyment of the evening. The original idea was for the host to provide snacks and wine, however, this has since evolved into a full culinary experience!
Initially, we brought 3 book title suggestions to the group. These could be books that we had read and enjoyed, or books that were on our personal reading pile. From these 3 suggestions per person, only 1 book with the highest number of votes would be put forward for group reading. We carried on with this for the first 2 years and then decided to try our local library’s reading list. We would then collect 8 copies of that book as and when the library could facilitate this and we continued until we had read all books of interest to us. As the library list was not reviewed for quite some time we reverted to our original method of nominating our own book suggestions.
When considering the three words that that describe what our book club means to us, we collectively decided upon social, stimulating and sozzled! The evening always begins with hugs and a general chat/ catch up. Drinks are served on arrival. We either discuss the book next, or supper is served. Discussion is always lively, noisy and laughter-filled. Everyone contributes to this but we are usually better talkers than listeners, sometimes having to call order. We discuss the characters, plot and consider the broader issues such as feminism, historic aspects and modernism. We then give the book a score and keep a record of this.
Our most recent book is The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue. The next book that we plan to read is Elevation by Stephen King. We are happy to read a mix of paperbacks or e-books and enjoy an eclectic selection of genres by a range of different authors.
Some of our favourites include:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy fowler
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Our most popular book this year is Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.
Our highlight was winning some reader’s notes and six bottles of Prosecco in an author’s competition on Facebook. It was very exciting to win this lovely prize. We also have our own page on Facebook and like to use this as well as WhatsApp to communicate with our group.
The secret of our success and sustainability is the fact we are great friends who revel in each other’s company and have similar expectations. We are very understanding of the fact that we all have busy lives and cannot always commit to finishing the books in the expected timeframe. We can often be surprised by our different opinions and perceptions, keeping things fresh and interesting. Book club has helped us to bond our friendships, broaden our reading and create happy memories. We love our Book Club!