My most recent time away made me think. A lot. About life, the universe, how I spoke to that shop assistant back in 2003 and if I should track them down to apologise…but also about community. For more on why, read here. I knew I wanted to retain some of that when I came home. Because even though I’m living in the town I grew up in, a lot of my friends and connections are now much further afield.
So the idea of a book club popped into my head, and I decided to be a bit scared, and feel a bit silly, but to put it out there anyway.
A single Facebook post in a local group garnered more than 70 responses. This translated into more than 50 people joining the actual group. And so, The Tiniest Book Club was born. It’s all women, not because I only think women want to talk about books, but that the nature of the group I posted in originally.
So far, we chat about books online, give recommendations from our favourite or current reads, and we’re just reading our second book. There are two ‘cohorts’ due to the geography of the group and the numbers involved. I’d love there to be more if our numbers keep growing.
The first meet was brilliant. I was incredibly nervous as I sat in ‘The Vault’: a private room in a local bar. Converted from a bank, the atmosphere was just right. Cosy and secluded from the main bar, so we could all chat comfortably. With a long wooden table dominating the space, big squashy cushions scattered around the bench seating and lots of rather rude framed pictures all over the walls, it was pretty perfect for us.
I met at least 12 lovely ladies (there may have been more, they were all lovely!) We talked favourite books, genres, weird reads and Kindle preferences. We discussed future themes and reads, and after a couple of gins (violet gin with lemonade, a new favourite) we got to know each other a little more. I opened up to new people, and corrupted one of my colleagues into a G&T on a Tuesday night.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it. A couple of people said they’d wanted to join a book club for a while but either hadn’t seen one locally or hadn’t gone for it and turned up. I feel like in a tiny way (;p) I’ve contributed to my community, and I hope it’s something we build together.
Our next meet is next week, with more new people able to make it in person as well as chatting in the online group. I’m intrigued to see what everyone thought, and to plan our first outing! A trip to see ‘Book Club’ at the cinema, seems rather apt.
Be brave. Do the thing you’re scared to. People might just thank you for it.