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For our November Book Club of the Month feature we heard from Sasha French and Read and Rabbit Book Club. This book club has some sage advice on setting up a reading group and plenty of the books mentioned are favourites of the LoveReading team as well! We adore The Song of Achilles and Where the Crawdads Sing is a winner with us too!
When did your book club launch? And how did that come about?
While on maternity leave, I got talking to another Mum at a local playgroup, we both said one thing we missed about working was the reading time on the commute. We decided to form a book club so we had a new incentive to keep reading and some adult time too. It took us a while and we started in September 2018. We figured if we each took a turn hosting it would take the pressure off having to get childcare sorted or get dressed up to go out.
Talk to me about how it’s developed over the years
I invited a few local friends I knew would be interested and asked them to ask someone else along. A few members came and went early on but it’s been 7 of us for quite a while now.
Describe your book club in three words
Books, kids and snacks
How do you choose your books?
Everyone is free to make suggestions and we have a WhatsApp group for sharing ideas. Then we narrow it down to a few and have a quick vote.
How often do you meet?
We meet once every 6 weeks as it can be hard to find reading time with small kids around.
Where do you meet?
We take it in turns to host but I always offer to be the default venue so nobody feels pressured if they are not feeling up to it.
What is the format of your meetings?
We like to keep it casual, we all give our opinion of the book in brief then start to delve a bit deeper into the themes and characters. The second half of every meeting is spent talking about our kids!
What are you reading right now?
Matt Haig - The Midnight Library
Do you have a favourite format of book? (hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook)?
Personally, I like a real book either hard or paper but I know quite a few members use Kindles and audiobooks.
What is your favourite book of 2020 so far?
Not published this year but we really liked Where The Crawdads Sing
Do you collectively have a favourite author?
No but we all loved Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles and vowed to read everything she writes. Read it now it’s so beautiful!
Do you collectively have a favourite genre?
Female focused stories, we like things that are quite relevant to the times.
Has there been a particular highlight of your time together? How have you coped since Covid struck, how have you kept your love of books alive?
I’ve merged these questions as over the lockdown period we started having weekly Zoom meetings as a nice way to support eachother and have a conversation about something other than the news. It was so nice to see how reading together has brought us closer and what a wonderful escape it offers.
Talk us through your books of the year so far…
We read Where The Crawdads Sing which was a hit with everyone. One of our members loves the fantasy genre so we often read something in that vein which always divides opinion – City of Brass by S. A Chakraborty was the start of a trilogy that some members were very keen to finish and others didn’t make it through the first book!
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller was a very interesting read and not a book I would have chosen without the group.
If you were to give anyone out there some advice on setting up a Book Club what would it be?
Be fairly strict about setting dates as it’s very hard to accommodate everyone. It’s easier to set a date and stick with it. I think 8 is a good number of people, large enough that there’ll always be people free for the meeting and small enough to have a chance for everyone to talk. If hosting at home agree on who’s providing snacks as we end up with loads!
We don’t have any social media pages – I set up a closed Facebook group but we found a WhatsApp group was easier.
Thank you to Sasha and Read and Rabbit for sharing their love of books with us!
If you'd like to be considered as a future Book Club of the Month, email us at email@example.com
If you enjoyed this, check out our other Book Club of the Month features on our blog!