This is a day early as we are going away tomorrow early for the weekend. This week I wanted to think about reading.
I joined a reading group several years ago but didn't go to many meetings because I didn't like the type of books they were reading. I understand that it does us all good to expand our reading knowledge, and go outside our comfort zones (etc), but on the other hand there are so many books in this world that I will never have time to read, why waste time on those I don't enjoy?
So I had a phase when I didn't go. Then last summer I started attending and found a different lot of people. The choice of books is a democratic one – we all get a list and tick what we want and the shortlist is given to the library who inform us when a set of 10 or 12 books are available (see, we don't have to pay for our books either!).
The group are all women (unsurprisingly) - two physiotherapists, one of whom decided she was feeling stale in her job, was allowed to take 3 months off and bicycled round Britain, never having been on a bike before. One is the MD of our local radio station, one works in a library, one at a university, one's a social worker, one a teacher, one a mum with young children – so a wide mixture.
Obviously the one thing we all have in common is the love of a good book, and I find it fascinating to hear other people's reactions to books. It certainly makes me see things I never would have understood before. One of us is just finishing her OU MA in English Literature so she always has fascinating insights.
Last time we met we discussed the works of Daphne du Maurier – we'd been given a mixed box so everyone read something different. Being a great DduM fan, I was able to bore them rigid with my views and help them see some of her work differently. We realised that she hated men called Dick (there are many of these in her work, as in real life) from which we deduced that she probably didn't have many good experiences with men. The lovely pirate in Frenchman's Creek is probably the exception to the rule, and then of course she couldn't be with him anyway.
So my question is – do you belong to a book group and if so, how does it affect your writing?