There are quite a lot of things I miss about London and there are quite a lot that I don’t. In bookish terms the main thing I miss was the book group I was in (followed swiftly by all the publisher parties I seem to miss out on, boo hoo, and the ridiculously cheap second hand book shop I had down the road). When I hear from the members how it’s going I always feel a little bit jealous I can’t still pop there every month.
The Riverside Readers started when I realised there weren’t really any in the heart of the city and so I popped a plea to learn of more out on the blog and got a response from Kim of Reading Matters. This then lead to lots of emails and discovering the bizarre fact we were working in offices 5 minutes apart, spooky. A few picnic lunches by the river later and we had it sorted we popped notices out on our blog and within a month we had a first meeting where 12 of us met in Waterstones Piccadilly and discussed our favourite books. After that it was a monthly meet on the Southbank and it’s still running strong with Polly of Novel Insights at the helm. What I loved most, and if you pop to their website here you can see this, is the diversity of what they read. It’s not just the latest hyped novels, Richard and Judy selections or classics (though there is nothing wrong with those and there are some in the mix) it really made me read outside my normal comfort zone.
I did join a few book clubs when I moved up here (and indeed will still be going to the one with the Ladies of Levenshulme and the lovely Paul Magrs) but for some reason the dates were wrong or they kept changing or I had read the book. So instead of moaning about it I decided to do something about it instead.
So guess what? After some emails and a lovely pot of tea with Lucy of Literary Relish, we have decided we are going to spawn a Manchester version. The working title is the Manchester Book Club, this is subject to change, and we have been busy bees creating a website (which is still a work in progress) and if you live near or in Manchester we will be having our first meeting, bring your favourite book, on April the 3rd. Like the Riverside Readers you don’t have to be a blogger or reviewer or anything of the kind, you just need to love books and want to recommend and try some unusual reads. That simple! We also hope to get local and not so local authors to come and talk about their books, more on that in due course.
So if you are local/ish please do go to the website for more details, we really would love to see some of you there and hope to hear from some of you soon.
If you can’t make it to Manchester I will mention the books in advance and you can always email me your thoughts and become honorary members maybe?