Where is this book club hiding?
Derbyshire, with its wild moors and romantic scenery, is full of literary inspiration. It’s been home to writers as diverse as Hilary Mantel, DH Lawrence and Alison Uttley and has been the setting for many a classic novel. And it’s home, too, to the friendly, amusing, insightful, argumentative and sometimes drunken women of the Peak District Book Group.
Formed in 2008, we meet monthly at each other’s houses to eat, drink and discuss the issues of the day. We also spend at least five minutes talking about the book we’ve been reading. There are about 20 of us now, but usually 12 or so at any one meeting. And we’re just women: we never did specify that, but I think we scare the men away.
Most of our books come from Derbyshire Library Service’s Book Chat list: we choose a number of books at the beginning of the year from an enormous list, and the library assigns us a box of books every month according to what’s available. The service is excellent, and I would recommend it to any book groups in Derbyshire.
Each meeting is held at someone’s house, and most people bring a little snack and something to drink. Over the years though, the definition of “little snack” has grown in some member’s minds, so that now each month we sit down to a feast!
We also discuss the book. The book discussion may be long or short depending on how many people have read/enjoyed the book. I think the record was an hour, for The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell. The rest of the meeting is spent eating and talking about other things (sometimes books!).
My book group highlights: learning Hungarian swearwords; eating Julie’s cakes; reading Skellig by David Almond (which has the honour of being the only book ever that everyone liked); our “secret santa” book swap at Christmas.
And that’s all I can tell you: the goings-on at book group, and even our real group name are secrets known only to members. Though my story, The Book Group, might give you a clue.