Book Club: Herefordshire

A Herefordshire Book Group open their doors to Henpicked

wine-and-booksOur book group is based in Herefordshire and has now been meeting for eight years. Ten girlfriends convened an inaugural dinner party: eight of us are still active members and the two who dropped out were swiftly replaced by two others, and we have a couple of honorary members who come on special occasions.

All of us are of a certain interesting age! The dinner parties continue in our homes on a six-weekly basis, and, as several of us are excellent cooks, we always have delicious food. Sometimes it is a challenge for those of us who feel less confident in the culinary arts!

What we read

Over the years we have read an impressive 50+ books ranging widely from contemporary classics, like Midnight’s Children, to lighter offerings, such as Salmon Fishing in The Yemen (before it was made into a film) or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. World literature has also been popular – one example is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, a harrowing tale of women’s lives in Taliban Afghanistan. We have an annual poetry evening, bringing along our choice of poems or writing our own.

The very first book we read way back in 2004 was We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. What a shocker – it split the group down the middle, or even into several pieces: those who thought it was fantastic, those who loathed it, those who could not even read it. Perhaps we should have started with Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – light and frothy and mostly loved by all with an exception or two who thought it a ‘one trick pony’!

Miss Pettigrew by Winifred Watson is published by Persephone Books, a small imprint specialising in neglected, intelligent and thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly women) writers. The shop is in Lamb’s Conduit Street in London, but they do a brisk mail order service with discounts for book groups. Any (woman) book lover will be thrilled by their list. We all are, and will be reading another from their list in May.