Monday, 12 January 2009

Book at Bedtime

A few years ago a couple of friends and I decided to start a reading group. As mums of young children we recognised our need for the occasional evening of intelligent adult conversation (complete with red wine and nibbles!) and a reading group seemed to fit the bill. As a teenager I was a voracious reader, mainly of classical novels, but having to read set texts at university had put me off books of any kind and when the girls arrived I persuaded myself I didn't have the time, or the energy. I hoped that committing myself to a deadline would provide the necessary motivation. And, happily, it has.

We meet every 6 weeks or so in one or other of our houses. Books used to be chosen by consensus, but we have recently swapped to alphabetical order by surname. I don't know how many books we have read over the past years. One of us once had a list but it hasn't been kept up to date. What I do know is that it has encouraged me to read a wider variety of books than I would otherwise have attempted. There have been some truly dreadful books, but many more enjoyable ones. Funnily enough, it's usually the least popular books that have generated the longest and fiercest discussions.

Last Friday we discussed 'Prodigal Summer' by Barbara Kingsolver. I didn't care for it very much but listening to us dissect it persuaded one member, who hadn't managed to read it, to borrow a copy to take home with her.

While I wait for the next person on the list to choose our next book, I have started 'The Remains of the Day' by Katsuo Ishiguro, so that I can discuss it with my elder daughter who is studying it at AS level. I'll need to read at least one book in between reading book titles if I'm to achieve my target minimum of 20 books this year.

Any recommendations will be warmly received.


  1. I've just finished a book called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" which might be a book club candidate at some stage. It's by Muriel Barbery and I read it in translation from the French. You might manage it in the original. I can't make up my mind whether it's intolerably pretentious or a really interesting philosophical book that I just haven't got quite enough patience/intelligence for! It's left me with food for thought, some of which chimed in with thoughts raised by seeing "The Reader" yesterday.

  2. Obviously I don't know what your tastes are Gai but at the moment I'm reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer. Almost finished, I have thoroughly enjoyed and recommend it.

  3. Thanks for the recommendations blue hands and SJA and what delightful titles. I've looked them both up on Amazon and will give them a go once I've finished the two I have in hand.