One of the challenges of arriving in a new place is getting out and meeting people, finding different things to do, and new things to talk about. I’ve been lucky. I’ve met loads of really great people – one of which invited me to join a local book club just over 12 months ago. Probably 15 members in total, averaging between 7 – 10 attending each month due to the challenge of juggling other commitments. Some sessions you can make, others you can’t. And that’s perfectly fine. I mentioned in a recent blog my pastime for reading (click here for a re-cap), so always up for trying something new, I’ve been fostered as the newest member of the group.
Back in January last year, collectively we agreed the books we would read each month, and who would host each month’s ‘event’. It’s been a tough challenge, as most of the books were unknown to me – whilst a lot of ladies had read them the previous year and submitted them as books they enjoyed or felt would be worthy of a monthly book club ‘discussion’ – so I’ve been on catch up, trying to read the required books in time for each month’s meeting. Some I’ve managed, others I haven’t – but nobody minds too much if you’ve not completed it. What’s been most interesting, is that I’ve read books I would generally have ignored – some I’ve enjoyed and others I haven’t, but it’s a super way to widen my reading and also, the discussion that each opens up has been positively enlightening. My husband refers to it as a ‘wine club’ under the guise of ‘books’, and that’s partly apt. November saw me as ‘host’ for the monthly ‘gathering’, and whilst we meet around 7.30pm, that particular month saw us only managing to get to the topic of the selected book just after 9. Just to ease things along, I offered a range of delicacies procured from the Italian market – meats, cheeses, dips, plus concocted a simple fruit salad, made ‘sticky date cake’, and also got hold of some homemade cookies from a new shop just at the corner of the road recently opened. Along with wine (the preferred liquid of choice), a great evening was had by all.
Some books have been by Canadian authors – and I’m sure if I really hunted them out in the UK, I’d probably find them – but they’ve never had much precedence when I’ve been browsing the book stores back home. They’ve been great reads, and I’ve been given different perspectives of historical time periods that I’ve not come across before. For example, ‘Requiem’ by Frances Itani, deals a lot with the treatment of the Japanese in Canada after Pearl Harbour in 1942 – something I knew very little about. Most history I’ve come across has been european-based – especially during WW2, so it was refreshing but also shocking what happened elsewhere.
On a lighter note, the last 2 months have seen British authors and with both being set in England, I’ve enjoyed the references to places, past-times and practicalities. What’s had me chuckling the most is how British references translate across the pond to Canadian readers – or not, as the case may be. The ladies in the book club have required the occasional translating of particular phrases, explanation of who various celebrities are (‘Katie Price’ – say no more), and verification over whether life is how it’s actually described in the books. The funny thing is, this must be rubbing off on my oldest kid. She’s reading a British fiction book in school and the teacher regularly asks the class about what words or phrases mean in the context of the writing. What had me laughing the most, was when my oldest kid described what the word ‘priorities’ meant to the class and then was challenged to put it into context in a sentence for the class to understand. She said her example was, ‘my Mum is always saying, I’m not doing that just yet as it’s not at the top of my list of priorities’. The teacher could readily appreciate the sentiment ….
For those interested, the list below is an eclectic mix of books read over the past 12 months that I’ve enjoyed – and you never know, you may too …..
P.D. James – ‘The Lighthouse’
Rachel Joyce – ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’
Donna Tartt – ‘The Goldfinch’
Andrew Davidson – ‘The Gargoyle’
Cheryl Strayed – ‘ Wild’
Paula Hawkins – ‘The Girl on the Train’
Kimberly McCreight – ‘Where They Found Her’
Linwood Barclay – ‘No Safe House’
Francis Itani – ‘Requiem’
J.B. Morrison – ‘The Extra-Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81’
Happy reading 🙂