I wanted to name some of the book club reads we had lately, as we have a list up to 2005 and thereafter it's guesswork. We each select a book for discussion and the only criteria is that the selector must have read the book, and it is in print and in paperback.
About our Book Club
We are not affiliated to the library book clubs that have sprung up around Ireland but are a group of women from diverse backgrounds who like reading and got together to start the book club ten years ago. Men aren't banned (we're not sexist like some golf clubs!) but it was decided at the outset that partners and husbands wouldn't join, just to avoid any inhibitions I suppose - books could be a flashpoint if there were wildly varying opinion and we didn't want anyone holding back. It can get quite heated at times, and we all love a lively debate.
Advantages of meeting on neutral ground
- It gets us out of the house on a weeknight - we meet up on a Monday each month in a room above a local pub.
- It removes the status anxiety inherent in having the book club at home, perhaps tidying up, dispatching kids and partners from the room and generally ensuring a child and man-free zone - not an easy task in today's open-plan homes.
- It prevents grandstanding in the cookery/baking/snacks stake.
- We can have a nice cuppa tea or coffee or a glass of wine or whatever we like, depending on mode of transport home - for me, that's walking.
- We don't have to get all glammed up as it's not like we're going clubbing or to the theatre, so smart casual is as fashionable as it gets.
- There is no danger of anyone eavesdropping if scintillating gossip is being shared.
- We enjoy the camaraderie of shared interests and female friendship.
- All of us have such busy lives it is crucial to have an interest that extends into totally new territory.
- We get to borrow books from each other and read new writers - I found Sue Miller , Barbara Kingsolver and Barbara Trapido here, and am very grateful!
- We have a good excuse to have a big night out occasionally - usually a good meal out in January to combat the post-Christmas blues.
- We don't get to snoop at other members' houses.
- We don't have a nice meal/cakes/snacks every month in home comfort.
I can't think of any other drawbacks - if you can, all comments welcome!
The recent books in no particular order include the following list:
- Stasiland - Anna Funder
- The March - E.L. Doctorow
- The Lay of the Land - Richard Ford (my selection - love the Frank Bascombe trilogy)
- Dance Dance Dance - Haruki Murakami
- The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry (Brilliant Irish novel, very fact-based events)
- Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
- The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
- Dreams of my Father - Barack Obama
- Stealing Water - Tim Ecott
I loved the others. Stasiland was a brilliant insight to the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people in the former East Germany and inspired me to see the film The Lives of Others (Das leben der Anderen) about the paranoia and the impact of the state on ordinary people which must still resonate today.