My reading friends and I had our inaugural book club meeting just yesterday 4th Aug. Some of the members hadn't read the full book The Husband's Secret. So we had a half book discussion (Angie's idea!). All of us, except Sherin Qadir (an artist friend who has just returned from Manila to Singapore), are new to this whole book club concept so I was prepared for blunders and hiccups.. Our initial group had 5 members but Jenny fell ill while another member couldn't make it because of her responsibility towards her two preschoolers. In the end, it was just the three of us - Sherin, Angie and myself. I must say it was a wonderful first book club meeting. This is how it went :
3-3.30pm - INTRODUCTIONS
We took turns to socialize and got to know one another and what is happening latest in their lives. Angie and Sherin are new to each other so some background exchanges took place.
We delved into the discussion proper of the novel The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. Along the way while munching through nachos and biting into little doughnut holes washed down by cold iced lemon tea, we did get the discussions going. A total of 10 questions were discussed and it was all based on passages or characters from the book.
'There is no such thing as a good divorce. Do you agree?' or
'What do you think is the underlying theme running through this novel ? Guilt? Grief?'
made us ponder and debate over different view points.
We played a game' What is in your Handbag?' in line with one of the characters in the book Tess who is ultra organized and carries everything in her handbag. For every item in the list, you get one point if you fish it out the fastest and the person with the most number of points gets a gift. Sherin won with the most number of points! I get a feeling that she is another Tess! So what was in the hamper?
A little make up pouch
A bottle of Vegemite because Tess loves it
2 packets of chocolate covered raisins because it is Tess's son Liam's favourite snack
A small bar of Crabtree & Evelyn soap
Book Clubs are a norm in America but not in Singapore. I am not surprised as half of our population don't even read one book a year! I initiated this on a whim to see where this Book Club goes- a lot of questions do crop up in my head now and then - will it be well received among our busy country women or will it fizzle out after a few meetings? How do I get more members to join in? (we are always on the lookout for new members - do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are keen to join) How do we keep the discussions alive meeting after meeting?
Why did I start a Book Club?
1) To encourage reading among my friends.
We are all busy and we don't really have the time to read. I believe all of us love and want to read but it becomes our least priority with our busy lives. Attending a book club forces us to read as we wouldn't want to be embarassed among our member friends. You set a date, choose a title and grab a book to discuss.
2) To Socialize More Often
A book club meeting is a nice solid plan - I have made arrangements with my reading friends to meet every month at 3pm at each other's place. Its not one of those 'Lets meet for coffee one of these days' or 'We should meet again soon' statements that soon gets forgotten. It forces us to meet to socialize and to learn what is the latest in everyone's lives.
3) Helps to improve our Literacy
Reading more is one of the easiest ways to improve your grasp of your language. Turning it into a habit through attending book clubs is the most fool proof way to ensure we read more and thereby improve our literacy.
4) To Share Interests
You'll understand how it feel to be interested in a certain genre and you could share the excitement with those who share similar interests. Your friends will get to share their own interests too and this might help all of you bond over a certain genre.