Sunday, 6 March 2016

A New Kind of Book Club - by Debbie Bennett

So you really want to join a book club. You ask around and find a few events locally, but they’re not quite right for you – nothing wrong with them, but your ideas don’t quite fit.

Maybe you’ll just stay home and read books instead. But then you think on it a bit more and decide to start your own book club. It helps that you have contacts in the hospitality industry and you know just the right place to host such a thing…

And so the Knutsford Literary Society was born. I went to the first meeting on Thursday 3rd March and met organiser Emma for the first time, together with twenty or so other people. In a wine bar in Knutsford (shame I had to drive ..) together with a group of people who all had a love of books in common. What’s not to like?

Corks Out has a lovely little upstairs room and a huge outdoor space which will be great when the weather improves. Perfect for a small and cosy get-together and a bit of mingling! And the fact that 3rd March was also World Book Day was apparently purely coincidental.

Emma says she didn’t want the kind of book club where everybody agrees to read a set book each month and then meet to discuss it. She wanted something far more informal – where readers and writers could come together and discuss books, reading and anything else of a literary nature. So some of us were asked to bring a book of our own (not one we’d written) for a book-swap table – we had little cards on which to write why we loved this book and recommended it to others. Problem was I had a huge book cull of over 100 paperbacks last week (funnily enough to the Red Cross charity shop in Knutsford). And any books I’d really like to recommend are also books I want to keep all to myself!

After a bit of wine-fuelled mingling, Emma welcomed everybody to the group and those of us who’d brought books got a chance to talk – about the swap-books, and our own books and writing. We had a table where we could sell our own stuff, give away promotional goodies (more hideously expensive Vistaprint keyrings – thank God they are least tax-deductible!) and sign up to the group mailing list. Later on, erotica writer Mollie Blake gave a short reading (not the sex scenes!) to give a flavour of how Emma sees the group progressing.

Future events will include evenings “hosted” by local authors, who will be able to talk about their books, do a few readings and a Q&A session. There may also be evenings devoted to aspects of publishing – ebooks, editing etc or just learning about other books generally. Kind of a book club spliced with a writers’ group, with something for everybody in an informal atmosphere. I’m looking forward to April.

Knutsford Literary Society intends to meet on the first Thursday of each month from 7:30pm at Corks Out wine bar in Knutsford. There’s a big car park nearby and parking is free after 6pm.

9 comments:

Mari Biella said...

It sounds like a great idea, Debbie - a place where readers and writers can meet informally and share their love of books. It's a pity I live absolutely nowhere near Knutsford!

JO said...

What a great idea - you'll have us all wanting to move to Knutsford

Chris Longmuir said...

Brilliant idea, you'll have to keep us posted.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

This sounds really excellent! I'm occasionally asked to speak to book groups, and always enjoy doing it, but never join them as a member because I can't stand 'having' to read a particular book each month. Because I have to read so much for work, research etc, when I read for myself, I tend to want to do it wholly for pleasure and if I'm not enjoying a book after 50 pages or so, I give up on it. But this sounds wonderfully varied and interesting and informal. Let us know how it goes.

Reb MacRath said...

Sounds like great fun, Debbie. Let me know when you run the next free shuttle from Seattle to Knutsford.

Jan Needle said...

all very well this talk of wine, debbie. but wot about ale guzzlers? are we not welcome... sounds like a great gig xx

Kathleen Jones said...

It sounds a lot of fun Debbie! Pity it's not near here!

Elisabeth Hobbes said...

I agree about not knowing which book to choose and being torn between hating to part with one I love but wanting to evangelise about it. It was a lovely first meeting and I'm looking forward to future nights.

Zara Stoneley said...

It sounds great! Sadly I couldn't make the meeting as I'm away, but I'm looking forward to attending future ones!