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March 2021 Book Club Recommendation: Barn Club by Robert J Somerville

We’d like to welcome you to our first non-fiction book club pick. Barn Club by Robert J. Somerville, published by Chelsea Green is a heart-warming, truly lovely read. Barn Club follows the building of a barn by volunteers over the course of a year using traditional methods. Full to overflowing with community spirit, traditional crafts, and its focus on the elm tree, Barn Club is a soul satisfying read. The author champions nature, our environment and the way we can live in it. Reading this book made me smile, I walked with the author beneath elm trees, listened to discussions about using timber to engage fruitfully with the landscape, and watched with interest as the barn raising took place. I really do think this would be a fascinating book club pick, and that there are plenty of discussion points to be had.

Suggested questions:

  • The author says towards the end: “It is all there for us to choose to do. It’s up to us”. How inspiring did you find this book?
  • Has the current pandemic changed the way you've viewed Dutch elm tree disease?
  • Do you feel we should be championing an elm revival in the UK?
  • How did the illustrations and photos affect your reading of the book?
  • Did you enjoy the carpentry lessons, what have you walked away with, in terms of knowledge?
  • What do you feel that you have learned about our potential to link with the natural world with regards to building?
  • What are your thoughts on volunteering, would you volunteer for a similar project?
  • The immense satisfaction felt by the volunteers after the barn raising can be felt, is there anything else you would have liked to know?
  • What is the most important thought you’re taking away with you having finished Barn Club?
  • If you were to recommend this book to a friend, what five words would you use to sum it up?

If you missed them, you can catch up on our previous Book Club Recommendations for each month below:

August 2020: A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville

September 2020: Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

October 2020: Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.

November 2020: The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

December 2020: Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

January 2021: Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves

February 2021: Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden

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