I used never to like the idea of reading groups – stemming back to school (so, so long ago!) when we had to dissect, cook and chew all the substance out of a good story until I, for one, was left with indigestion. I hated even discussing a book or play for that matter; that I had enjoyed it seemed too clinical an operation for what to me was my alternate world. Like dissecting a good friendship, examining the good and bad of a relationship instead of just being part of something wonderful. I would not join a reading group; books were too precious to dissect.
Twenty years on when I took myself off to gain a degree I discovered that dissecting and discussion were an integral part of the process of donning the cap and gown! These were text books, academic papers and they begged to be discussed, to be argued with it was what they had been created for. So I learnt, very slowly, to join in the fun. Leave the novels and plays alone though! I wasn’t ready for them to be taken apart, not yet.
Then, as mentioned in previous blogs, I lost my books; the ability to read more than a few words at any one time vanished. Operations, medical drugs and stress said the doctors, will come back they said. When? Sometime!
So about fifty five years after I first discovered the joys of reading I joined a reading group. As therapy, as homework, as a desperate attempt after four years loss to recover my books. It worked, slowly but surely the one book a month grew into back to normal reading.
That first book was one of Minette Walters, an author whose books I had never been tempted to try; I have all of them now. Because, apart from finding books again, one of the pluses of these groups is that one has to try authors and genres that have never been tried before and along the way reading habits expand wonderfully.
My fears were unfounded, the books were not destroyed, if anything they became richer as I mused upon them and discovered subtleties I may have missed in the absorption of the tale. I now belong to two reading groups and, as both are run by the county’s libraries, I sometimes get a book already read by the other group. I have never been averse to reading a book more than once so do not find this the problem that others have with re-reading. I have discovered along the way new authors that I seek out and authors I would not. It has always been so.
However, as years advance, expanding my reading range poses problems of its own: where will I find the extra years to read them all?
See Alberta’s blogs on writing and in particular the Sefuty Chronicles on
and blogs on anything that takes her fancy on