I am proud to say that I am a member of two book clubs, (even if my husband has christened one of them wine club!) and they are definitely a part of me being more than a mum.
I am an English graduate and an English teacher, but when I had my daughter 2 and a half year ago, I hardly read at all, and it wasn’t because of birth or pregnancy, but reading had become work. I hardly ever read a book for pleasure. If I was reading, it was usually a book I was going to teach or an Educational theory book and to be honest, I had got to the point where reading bored me.
In pregnancy I found I was too tired to read and when your tiny baby is asleep in your room, it is difficult to leave the light on and read, so all in all I wasn’t reading.
Then the group of Mums I knew from anti-natal classes and I started a book club. The main intention was to do something which was completely adult and also stimulated us intellectually. We take it in turns to host. We read everything and anything, from teen-fiction to literary classics and from parenting guides to historical novels. It is the host’s duty to chose the book and provide a meal, whilst the rest of us bring wine. We give ourselves 4-6 weeks between meetings in which to read the books and on the night we chat about the book and drink and gossip! Some months we discuss the book more than others. Sometimes we have discussion questions; sometimes we seem to need to gossip and drink wine more than we want to discuss the book (hense the hubby’s ‘wine-club’ comment!); but either way is good, because we are being more than mums; we are being adult women in an adult environment.
The second book group I belong to has a slightly more high-brow reading list. It was also started by a friend of mine who is a stay at home mum. She wants to read more of the classics. She also has friends all over the world with whom she wanted to read. She started a facebook group. We also read books over a 4-6 week period. We vote for books we’d like to read which we feel fall into the category of ‘classics’ and we have an open discussion that starts on a particular day on our facebook wall. This group challenges me to read things that would not normally have been on my reading list, or that have been on my list for some time, but I’ve never quite got round to.
I love both my book groups and wouldn’t be without either of them. Some months I read both books easily, some months (like this one) things conspire against me and I end up finishing my book on the bus on the way to ‘wine club’ and will be contributing late to the facebook wall of the classics book club, but neither group is judgemental so it doesn’t matter.
I think the most important things about my book groups are that they keep my brain active, they make me sit down and read, and they allow me to discuss grown up things in an all adult environment.
Are you a member of a book club? If you are, what would you say are the most important things about your book group? If you’re not, what type of book club (if any) would you like to be a part of?