As the years have gone by and Book Club Bunch has scaled so that I’m no longer needed in the book clubs, or am, in fact, even the best person to be running our book clubs, I find that I really miss being in the thick of it. I miss hearing the kids’ responses and seeing their faces when they light upon a particularly brilliant thought, and I miss having someone read to me.
I can get through any day when I think about the book waiting for me at the end of it. I pick reading over TV, reading over films, even reading over people sometimes. But being read to by somebody else is something else entirely. I don’t mean audiobooks, although I love them too. I mean the experience of having a real, live person read directly to me. A person sitting before me delivering a reading that can only happen in that exact way in that very moment. It’s loving, restoring, emotionally caressing, and utterly transporting, and I miss that.
When our actors reach the end of a chapter to break for discussions there’s a pause, a stillness in the room. As the children are yanked back to reality there’s audible dismay. ‘Don’t stop!’ they lament. I used to share the children’s reluctance to unstick from the reading as did the teachers and parents who were sitting in. ‘Could we do something like this for adults?’ we were asked.
I was introduced to adult book clubs when I was living in the US many years ago. We would assemble in each other’s homes with wine and snacks and talk about the book none of us had read and then, realizing none of us had read it, quickly turn to gossip and chat. It wasn’t that we didn’t enjoy reading, we simply didn’t make enough time to cover the pages before the next club meeting. We always felt regret. Next time we would absolutely read the chapters. Next time we absolutely didn’t.
On Thursday, November 4th, at 8.30 pm we are joining forces with LEVEL to pilot an online book club for adults. We will read to you and we will moderate discussions. You will not be expected to read anything, you may drink your wine, and you will surely cry, ‘Don’t stop!’