We're revamping the page on our Penguin Readers' site that offers advice for starting your own book group. It features the West Mainland Readers Group telling us about their first meeting in January 2003 - so it's time for an update. We'd love to hear other experiences of your first meeting, how did it go, how many people turned up and how many people have stayed the course. Post something up on the Forum and we'll pick a new group to feature.
Penguin Readers Forum » General Chat » Tell us about your Book Group
Tell us about your Book Group (4 posts)
4 posts in this topic
Bearwood Book Group, in Birmingham, had their first meeting in spring 2007 with five friends.
Since then, there have been three children born amongst the members, but we've never missed a session every six weeks, read a wide variety of books verging from the bizarre (Milan Kundera's "Slowness" and Kinky Friedman) to the sublime (Sebastian Faulks's "Human Traces").
Despite one member's impossible quest to find a happy book, we've only had one member drop out due to moving away, we've picked up four new (ir)regular members meaning there are potentially eight of us still meeting in and around Bearwood in pubs or our houses.
We've had group outings to events as part of the Birmingham Book Festival, we've had four or five emails from interested people whom we suspect never quite had the courage to show up, and we've only ever put off one potential new member with our raucous discussion. Or it could have been the Kinky Friedman book.
Our group is online and our first discussion was in 2005. It was a bit of a challenge as we were just starting out plus we people who were unfamiliar with internet etc. All in all we did quite well and we had invited the author to attend and do a Q & A with us. The author was Charlaine Harris who is now a lot more famous due to the True Blood series, but at the time she still had a cult following. We had 15 people attend the first group, although we had more members overall, just 15 out of all the members were brave enough to try a discussion in that way.
We started with one book a month but quickly progressed to 3 books a month. Now we offer 3-4 groups a month depending on the book and the genre. The groups are usually smaller but there are more of them. We still have all our initial book group members who joined in 2005, plus a lot of new ones. :)
I started a book group with friends locally and we meet roughly once every month. We have been running for 3 years or so now and have a total of 14 members but rarely all meet together. We meet in each other's houses on a rotational basis. Thanks to our local library have recently discovered that we can loan up to 15 copies of certain books for an eight week period.
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