Hello again dear reader! Today you find a very excited superlucyj as tonight is the first (hopefully of many) of my book club meetings. I’ve always wanted to join a book club but have been constricted by time and small children so I decided to start my own. At the last count there was 7 people coming, which is a good number as I’ve only got 6 chairs, and everyone is bringing an unusual cheese and a bottle of something so it should be an interesting evening.
I love books, always have. I have very fond memories of going to the library in Barnehurst (now a block of flats – oh the humanity) with my dear Pop and my sister throughout my childhood. It was small and quiet and it was the place where I first learned to love the wonderful smell that is the paper and bindings and ink of thousands of books massed together. It was also the place where I first truly lost myself; not only to the stories captured within all the millions of pages, but to the sheer joy I could have simply browsing the shelves, taking out one book after another, flicking through the pages, reading a few lines, deciding whether to keep the book out or to put it back in its place. These days I have a Kindle (two actually) and although I have fully embraced the e-book revolution, (I have to wear glasses to read these days and they will steam up in the bath. On a Kindle you can increase the font size, not to mention look up unfamiliar words using the built in dictionary and highlight parts of the text you want to remember forever) there really is nothing like whiling away an hour or two in a bookshop or a library. The other annoying thing about not having a physical book is that I can’t indulge my guilty pleasure of turning to the end of the book to find out what’s going to happen.
To my unmitigated joy, it looks like my daughters are going to be bookworms like me. One of my proudest moments as a mother was when I was calling R to dinner when she was about 4. She didn’t appear so I went to look for her. I found her on her bedroom floor, surrounded by all the books from the Roald Dahl collection that my mother had bought her when she was a baby. She was engrossed in them, opening each one in turn and poring over the pictures, completely oblivious to anything going in around her. I crept away and left her there; put her dinner in the oven to keep warm. She and her father are currently enjoying reading the first Harry Potter book and we’ve got all the others on her bookshelf ready for them to share together. R and I have read to the baby since she was a newborn, rediscovering old favourites together like Peepo, Can’t You Sleep Little. Bear?, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt to name but a few. She loves to touch the pages and stares at us as we read with wonder and amazement. Sharing books with my children is one of my greatest pleasures.
I’m reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt at the moment. It is utterly absorbing and has some of the most perfect prose I have ever read. Before that I read the first book in the Wool trilogy – complete escapism and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. Because of the book club, I have a long list of books I want to read. I look at the list now and again and savour the tingle of excitement about all the worlds and stories and characters I am going to discover and explore.
The book we are going to talk about tonight is Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple, a very humorous and touching book I read last summer while on holiday in Italy. I’ve got a list of discussion topic and questions and everything, I just hope we have time to discuss them all.
So, off I go to buy crackers for cheese and olives and to find a spare chair (or two, just in case) for tonight. I’ll let you know how we get on. I just hope that in all the excitement I don’t drink too much Prosecco and forget everything that happens.