One of the best things about my new job is the commute into the City. It takes about thirty five minutes and means that rather than battling my way through traffic and practising breathing exercises to prevent my road rage, I have a good half hour to kick back, relax and read. One of the initial downsides of moving home and job, is that I am unable to make a regular commitment to the Bookclub I was a member of. It’s no longer in the town where I live, and it’s tricky to get there on time. I also, don’t know any people in the town where I now live, other than my fella obvs. But he doesn’t really count.
I know being a member of a bookclub at the mere age of 25 may seem like a total loser geeky thing to be, but it’s not. Being a geek is cool (my fella would say it’s hipster). And good for you. It’s for the better really. The BBC recently published an article about how people who read are happier. Well if that isn’t enough to get your popping down to the nearest Waterstones I don’t know what is. Who doesn’t want to be happier? Who doesn’t want to open their mind, broaden their knowledge and escape for a little while from the reality around them? Who is going to turn around and say, ‘ah no, you’re alright, I’m actually about as happy as I can get’. Not possible. Not in this economy, with this weather, not with X Factor being re-commissioned. I wouldn’t believe them. This week there was an article in the Guardian about a visit to a library making you as happy as a pay rise. Bring on the books I say.
I tried to find a replacement bookclub, but was sadly disappointed by the choices on offer. The problem with a lot of the book clubs that are out there is that they are daytime events populated by the newly retired. A quick scan of the internet shows that most groups of this type happen on a weekday afternoon in a cosy little library. Enough time for the over 60s to have played an early round of golf and fussed around in their garden for a little while. What they don’t factor in is that there are hundreds of readers out there who work full time and who don’t use libraries – probably because they’re shut. That there are a tonne of potential attendees who are too busy sending emails and going to business lunches to be able to spare a couple of hours mid afternoon to chat about literature.
What’s more, these people don’t want to dissect Dickens over coffee, or contemplate the motive behind why something made it on to the bestseller list while sipping on a cup of tea. Oh no, in my opinion, humble though it may be, bookclubs in particular should be flush with two things; talk about books, and alcohol. Be it gin or wine, a conversation about the unexpected twist in a novel flows far nicer with a % thrown into the mix.
So, prompted by my fella, we decided to start our own bookclub. In an evening. In a busy town centre bar. Advertised on social media and posters in key spots in town; we tweeted our way into the town’s consciousness and had a fair few members when we launched earlier this month. It was fairly cool, you know, the kind of alternative event that people want to be part of. Our bookclub wasn’t full of people who play boules and bridge; there were people of all ages, so we talked about books and had a few drinks. Success I reckon. We threw the floor open and asked for recommendations and future reads, and our lovely attendees did us proud. I for one can’t wait until next month.