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)