I was lucky enough to be chosen as a World Book Night giver for 2012 and even more luck enough to be able to give Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier out. As well as releasing these books to people who do not necessarily read or have never read this book an off the chance remark on Facebook, led to some friends wanting to have a read, which led to my first book club! So Jo’s Book club was born made up of family, friends and neighbours and a couple of weeks ago was our first meeting. Eek!
I admit to being rather nervous, as never having done anything like this before and being particularly passionate about books and reading, I do realise that not everyone is like me. I did a little bit of research about questions and found the website litlovers where there were plenty of tips, ideas and discussion questions on Rebecca but lots of other novels too. I also found a little ice breaker game which I thought would be good way of kicking things off.
So with refreshments dealt with, we played the game which gave us all a chance to find more about everyone’s likes and dislikes; such questions as:
Where’s your favourite place to read? – Popular answer was in bed!
What was the first book you remember reading/being read?
Which book have you read most frequently?
Not everyone had finished the book, so I made sure that we were not going to spoil it for everyone if we discussed the ending. Such talking points covered; du Maurier’s works such as Jamaica Inn which Karen loved (and I agree). How creepy Mrs Danvers was. Nastiness of Favell. Mrs Van De Hopper ‘friend of the bosom’. The scene where Mrs de Winter comes down the stairs for the Ball dressed as one of the ladies in the painting, made me want to cringe – I really wanted to shout “don’t do it”. That was a turning point for Carol and she was really captured by the book. The issue of the second Mrs De Winter not having a name. Why Max took her home to Manderlay? And the division of Rebecca being in the west wing and the new Mrs de Winter in the east. Then leaving her to fit into a life unknown to her with no help. Beatrice, Max’s sister tried so hard to help the new wife. Never thought of it being a being a murder mystery, but he did kill her. Why were they in exile? Lots of unanswered questions. Then discussion of the Hitchcock film adaptation and the television version with Emilia Fox.
In fact reading the afterword in the book by Sally Beauman (who went on to write Rebecca’s Tale) gave us a lot to discuss. The questions I printed off were not needed that much but were a very useful tool. I think we covered quite a lot really.
Not wanting to losing momentum we headed for a refreshment top up and then a bit of a book swap, with the many books that I have got waiting to go to the charity shop and the various other places I distribute them. It enabled everyone to pick something that perhaps they would not have thought of picking up before. Sue surprised us all with her choosing a rather graphic crime novel. It was a good idea and next time round everyone is going to bring some for swapping, which will be great fun!
It looks like a new little book group has started and everyone was keen for it to continue, I really was not sure whether it could have been a one-off or had potential. Luckily the latter.
So how to choose the next book, difficult when you do not want to push your choices on everyone else, but I suggested Room by Emma Donoghue, it was featured on the list of books which was given out at World Book Night which started this book group off and is a current well-known novel and I also knew would be easy to get hold of copies in a charity shop as well as the library. So we have gone with that one. Carol ordered it immediately that night for delivery and my mum the following day as it was relatively cheap on kindle. I already had a copy and now everyone else has there’s – it looks like we are good to go with Chapter Two of my Book Club and we meet again in June.
As for following books, I have printed off the list that my local library service provides a number of copies for book groups. So that will give us certainly some more choices. I am also hoping that the promise of some books from a publisher will come to fruition as well.
Everyone enjoyed the evening and so did I. It is great to share the love of reading and books with people, and we had the I am sure obligatory discussion about kindles, paperbacks and hardback that seems to be doing the rounds in many literary places.
Then in The Telegraph this last week there was an article about book clubs and how to run one successfully – apparently avoiding alcohol and Middlemarch my book club should survive?
Has anyone got any tips or suggestions for future books or perhaps little games to play?