Yesterday I went out to lunch with my Reading Group friends. There are seven of us in total and we meet, on average, every six weeks. We alternate taking turns to have the meeting in our homes – we’re all local – and the hostess (we’re all ladies), as well as providing the wine and snacks, also chooses the book for the following meeting.
And every year we meet for a Christmas meal and a summer lunch. Yesterday was the occasion of the summer lunch, which was held at a local gastro pub – and very nice it was too!
Sometimes we will meet up and all go to a public reading or on a cinema outing, but we mostly keep the focus to our reading and books.
This lovely group has been meeting for 16 years, and I look forward to our meetings very much. The reason we stopped at a membership number of seven was because this is the maximum number of seats that we can each accommodate comfortably in our homes.
And the reason we have each hostess choose the book for the next meeting is that this is the best way that we can ensure that we get to read a wide variety of books. I have certainly read books (mostly fiction) that I would never have read if they had not been nominated through the Reading Group. That’s what makes it so interesting.
We’re quite a laid back group. For example, I refuse to continue reading a book if I find it too tedious, or I can’t get into the plot, or I find myself reading the same chapter again and again! Having said that, I might decide to read it after we’ve all met to discuss it.
Or I might not!
Either way, refusing to finish the book is not considered a hanging offence!
We also tend to spend the majority of each meeting gossiping about what has happened in the town since we last met and our children. We then discuss the book, while sipping wine and eating healthy(ish) snacks.
Like I aid – we’re quite laid back!
After coffee (and cake) the hostess will reveal the next book – perhaps with a short statement about why she chose it.
Anyway, yesterday it was my turn to choose the next book, and I chose The Humans by Matt Haig. The reason that I chose the book was because I had recently read another book by the same author called Reasons to Stay Alive.
This book was not fiction; it was about depression.
I don’t suffer from depression, but both my son and husband do. And I found the book to be educational, enlightening, disturbing, and sometimes very funny. It told me more about depression than either of my boys could, and I am very grateful to Matt Haig for this.
I hope that I am a better person for having read it.
Reasons to Stay Alive is not a sad book; rather it is a testament to the strength of the human mind and a celebration of the human spirit. And it beautifully describes the heart-stopping emotions that people who suffer from depression can experience.
I discovered that the author had also written a piece of fiction called The Humans, about an alien on earth. And I also learned that the way that the alien interacted with humans on earth was a metaphor for depression.
As an added bonus, I believe that this is the first science fiction book we will have read as a group.
I do hope they all read it!