A work colleague of mine explained that he and his mates thought book clubs were only for ‘gals’ but wanted a ‘blokey’ book club- so they made up their own format. It involved the nominated person of the month choosing a book and a pub (the pub had to have some kind of reference to the book) – and them meeting at the pub to talk about the book and also of course to drink and play pool.
It was liberating to realise that book clubs didn’t have to automatically follow the same format. I had always assumed that a book club meant everyone reading a single book and then meeting to talk about it.
So when I met up with Nadine that evening (way back in 2000) we discussed what we loved about books and what a book club might be like if we didn’t have to follow any rules. The image we came up with was of visiting a friend and looking at her bookcases, of the friend pulling out her favourite books and exclaiming ‘you really should read this’ and then lending them to us. And that was the seed of our concept of introducing each other to our favourite books and then lending them to each other.
On our first meeting we all brought along 2 books to introduce to the others. After that we introduced a ‘returns’ segment where we shared comments about books we had borrowed, and then introduced new books. Initially we brought along our all time favourites only to discover that everyone else had already read them…over time we began to try to find books that the others might not have discovered, and this added to the richness of our get togethers.
My favourite moment is when we have each put all our books on the coffee table but not yet chosen what we want to borrow. It is such a sumptuous feast of books awaiting reading! We all get very excited and try to show some restraint in making sure each of us gets to choose something new (if we want)
Almondmeal Pancakes with poached Blood Plums by Judi
Erin Morgenstern’s blog
Click on the title of this post to go to the blog of wonderful author Erin Morgenstern (as mentioned in our post below about the Night Circus). She is a fascinating and talented lady! (RH)
We love The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion! So far three of us have read this looney and loveable romp of a book – rom-com on steroids! While none of us would meet all of Prof Don Tillman’s criteria for a ‘punctual, non-drinking, non-smoking female’ (well, we are female), at least one of us finds Don’s highly systematised approach to meal planning very appealing. Don is a hoot, as is his search for a wife, and while the ending is somewhat predictable, it’s the journey that’s engaging, at times hilarious, at times poignant, at all times entertaining. A PPBC rating of 5/5 so far. (BMcK)
Wonder by RJ Palacio could almost tip into the category of ‘tear-jerker’, it doesn’t though. It’s leavened with humour and pathos, and fine dashes of ‘reality’ from the lead character Auggie (August). ‘I won’t describe what I look like’ Auggie tells us, and as his story unfolds (several chapters told in his own voice) we learn he has a challenging and unusual appearance, the result of a fluke combination of genes. Auggie has always been home schooled, and now his parents have decided he should attend a small private junior school. The book chronicles his rocky road to acceptance among a brace of teens to whom appearance is oh so important. It’s a teen novel, and as adult readers we all found it immensely moving, amusing, and at all times ‘real’. It’s themes are universal: acceptance, resilience, and the plight of those who do not meet society’s ‘norms’ for whatever reason. A highly recommended read with a PPBC rating of 5/5. (BMcK)
The Night Circus, written by Erin Morgenstern is extraordinary. It’s one of those novels where the reader is left pondering ‘how on earth did the author come up with such amazing, rich, imaginative and utterly unique ideas?’ It’s an adult fairy tale of sorts, with an old-fashioned ‘fight to the death’ theme at its core. It’s a book bursting at the seams with magic and mystique, a fantasy world populated by the circus troupe who perform incredible feats. Erin Morgenstern is the consummate conjurer, her illusory world is a wonderful place in which to lose yourself reading this enchanting book. Another PPBC rating of 5/5. (BMcK)
The civilising influence of a nice cup of tea and some delicious treats sets us up perfectly for our book reviews and discussions.