I joined a book group recently. I’d never joined one before and wasn’t entirely sure whether I was going to enjoy it. I’ve heard of people in book clubs who are given homework questions and told to write essays to present to the group. Eek! That’s not for me.
I was a little wary but I signed up regardless, later dragging in a book-loving friend for mutual support. It helps if you know at least one person, right?
When it came to our first meeting I was gutted to realise I’d double booked. I’d dutifully read the book, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, making mental notes for discussion along the way, but then I’d signed up to attend an event with free cocktails (and more) the same night.
It’s not as though we could combine the two events, could we? Hmmm. It was a throw away suggestion when I made it. I didn’t seriously think a Champagne and Cocktail bar would be an ideal location for a book meet, but then again…
So it was our first meeting; we were strangers. What better way to break the ice than with free drinks and free massages. From chatting online with other newbie members it became apparent that no one really knew what to expect from the first meeting anyway. With Lou’s permission I put forward my case and waited for it to be yea or nayed by the other members. No one suggested an alternative location, so as unlikely as it was our first venue was Epernay.
The venue was busier and louder than anticipated. Sitting at the far end of the tables I strained to hear other people’s opinions. I presume other people struggled as well but were too polite to criticise. Despite the noise we talked about the book for about 45 minutes before taking advantage of the free Rum Punch and Rum with Ginger Ale that was doing the rounds.
The conversation circled back to the book repeatedly throughout the evening, whilst intermittently people would disappear to top up their glasses, stretch out their arms to receive a free temporary gecko tattoo, or to receive a free shoulder, back, neck, scalp and arms massage. (In that order, incidentally).
Books, booze and back rubs: In my opinion it was an unusual but successful start to a book club. I’ve already ordered our second book and its winging its way to me as I type.
Are you in a Manchester based book club? Where would you nominate for our next meeting?