Tag Archives: Manchester Book Clubs

A Manchester Book Club…

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?

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Filed under Manchester Book Club, Random Savidgeness

How Many Book Groups Make Too Many?

I love books. I know that sounds like a rather obvious thing to say with a book blog, but sometimes my love of books gets me into trouble. For example at the moment I am in the midst of reading the Green Carnation Prize submissions, of which we have easily had double or maybe treble what we did last year and there are more to come. I also have a big pile of books on the bedside table which I keep ‘meaning to read next’, some advance reading to do for ‘Discovering Daphne’ and another project for the blog which starts in August. Phew! So you might think considering I am part of two book groups the very thought of joining another would seem idiotic… and yet I think I have.

It’s not the fault of the other two book groups that have made my eyes wander. It’s definitely me.

You see with the book group I first joined (that in my own head I call ‘the lovely ladies of Levenshulme book group’ because it is lots of lovely women and me and Paul Magrs) I love the banter and I love the people but until this month a lot of the choices have been re-reads for me. This is of course my fault for reading too much frankly and not theirs at all. However this month, though I have no idea what day it’s happening, we are reading ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Diane Chamberlain which is a book I have never read and would go as far as to say from the cover looks like a book I would possibly avoid. It looks a bit Jodi Piccoult. However this is the very point of a book group isn’t it?

Sadly at the moment the book seems to be avoiding me. I ordered it from the library, they went and loaned it after I ordered it. I have tried book shops and no avail. I could go online, but I feel all funny about online sales after the latest Book Depository news. So if I get it and if I find out when the meeting is I shall of course be going.

The next book group I joined in part because it was organised by one of my lovely new friends up in the north and secondly because I hadn’t read the book, which was ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one I had wanted to read for ages and ages but not quite got around to. The only issue is that I have read the next book that’s been chosen (again my fault not theirs) but I really don’t want to read it again. What is it? ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy. This seems odd, especially as you can see from a review of it back in 2008, when I had read it for a book group too, I came away confused but overall liking it. So wouldn’t this be just the sort of book that could do with a re-read? After all this was a few years ago. The answer screaming at me is no. I don’t want to be confused by it again, and one thing I missed in that review was how long that book took to read. I have it by the bed in case but I will see, I did love the people who went so much – a really lovely mixture. Can I not go without having to re-read it and see if I can remember it fully? I admit I remember one horrid scene in a cinema all too well.

Fate seemed to extend a hand when I found a new book group in Manchester through twitter completely randomly. I think Waterstones Deansgate retweeted them, they are the @NQbookclub. This group are a little specific with what books they choose, which is what attracts me so much – as well as meeting new book lovers that is, as they only read post war classics it seems… Classics such as ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates, ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe and next up to read is ‘Rabbit, Run’ by John Updike. Many of you will of course have read these, but I haven’t and yet they have always been books I have fancied (I did read Updike’s ‘Couples’ for a book group and was impressed with the read and the discussion was great) so should I add another book group to my reading schedule?

I am torn, especially as with ‘Bookmarked’ starting soon (exciting announcement about that soon) and the reading I will need to do for that… maybe it is too much? Do I need to give up one? I don’t really want to. How many book groups are too many? Has anyone else found that they go to a book group and each month it’s a book they have read? Does it matter if you pick and choose which meetings you attend, what are your thoughts on etiquette?

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Filed under Book Group, Book Thoughts