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The LoveReading Book Club of the Month

By Charlotte Walker on 3rd July 2018

Research recently commissioned by The Reading Agency has shown that being a member of a book club or reading group makes you happier, widens your reading habits and helps you enjoy books even more. We will be featuring a wonderful group of book lovers each month; a book club who will share their own experiences of reading together, and give us all some inspiration for the future!

Meet our first group… 

I’ve been invited to join several book clubs over the years, but in spite of being an avid reader I never took the plunge until recently. When a book has made an impact on you (negatively or positively) it's great to have the opportunity to discuss it with other people. A reading group gives you that opportunity and definitely encourages you to think a bit more about the books you are reading. 

There are several resources out there for people looking to set up or join a book club or reading group. Reading Groups for Everyone, is the UK’s largest reading group network  and they have some great advice for prospective groups.

We think book clubs are a brilliant way to share your love of reading and that they give you a unique way to celebrate books and initiate friendly discussion about authors, genres, characters, plot twists and turns – and how it all makes you feel.

We will be featuring a wonderful group of book lovers each month; a book club who will share their own experiences of reading together, and give us all some inspiration for the future!

Meet our first group and huge thanks to Sandra Furmston, Pauline Boorman, Barbara Allebone, Jenny Griffiths, Lesley Jones, Marion Kimberley and Maggie Rogers for sharing their Book Club with us and inspiring us. If you’d like us to feature your Book Club next month, get in touch!

When did your Book Club launch?    

June 2008 - we have been going for ten years and have read 100 books as a group

How did your club come about?      

The idea was born at a dinner party over a few drinks. Originally the plan was for an email group as we all lived in various areas of London but a central meeting place was agreed as the Royal Festival Hall.

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

Over the years it has developed into a valued and sociable group, it has become a core friendship group for all of us, meeting together regularly for various social occasions.

Describe your book club in three words.    

Sociable, informative and valuable 

How do you choose your books?  

Democratically with no specific format 

How often do you meet? 

Monthly though we only usually manage 10 times a year as August and Christmas is sometimes difficult.

Where do you meet? 

The Royal Festival Hall in London

What is the format of your meetings?

We meet for coffee where we catch up, share news and discuss the book

What are you reading right now?   

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Do you have a favourite type of book? 

All fiction

What is your favourite book of 2018 so far? 

As you might expect from such a group, we can’t agree. It’s between The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and the Cellist of Sarajevo though several of us preferred a 2017 choice, Conclave by Robert Harris.

Do you collectively have a favourite author? 

Not really, although some suggestions have been shared as C.J. Sansom, Peter May, Amitav Ghosh and Maggie O’Farrell. We are a group with varied tastes and the joy of a book club is that we read books we wouldn’t necessarily have tried.

Do you collectively have a favourite genre? 

We try to have a balance, literary fiction, classics etc 

Has there been a particular highlight of your time together? 

The very first meeting when we had a fly past from The Red Arrows (it coincided with Trooping the Colours

Also we have taken several trips away to various venues linked to books set in appropriate places. These trips reflect the fact that we are a group of friends that enjoy each other’s company and love doing things together. We use the relevant books as an excuse to justify the trips. We have been to France (Mme Bovary) Sutton Hoo (The Dig) and Amsterdam. Recently we visited Edinburgh having read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses. This necessitated a trip to Rebus’s favourite bar, The Oxford Bar. 

Some of us also fitted in a visit to the Scottish Parliament where we were fortunate enough to witness the Scottish Brexit debate.

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

Keep it informal, do not be too prescriptive.