Book Group? But that's something that my Mum does!
Richard and Judy, Radio Four and the like have a LOT to answer for in my opinion....
Somehow, the idea of a group of intelligent people getting together in a semi-bohemian fashion and talk about books that have made them think/feel/change in their very cores has become 'uncool' and therefore a thing of the past. I mean, very few people in their 20's these days have the ability to host a large group of people in their home, serve canapes and wine and contribute enthusiastically to a discussion while doing so. How did book clubs become 'pre-retro' (as in, they haven't come back into fashion- yet) and why is there this strange anticipated catering etiquette around having 'a bok club meeting'?
In the good old bohemian days, a really good book would take the world by storm. Discussed more than Kim & Kanye's new sprog (or the equivalent) by those in the know, a book might provoke arguments, passionate defenses, a new philosophy or at the very least a lot of deep reflection. People might talk together about new ideas offered, and their merits or flaws. Authors might discuss their works together (like the Inklings group attended by J R R Tolkein, C S Lewis amongst others) and read aloud their new projects for criticism/review.
Call me vintage, but that sounds absolutely awesome. Talking about books you love, with intelligent people (and probably wine)? What's not to love, people!?
So when a friend set up an event for such a group, I went along and had an awesome time talking about Neil Gaiman's 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' (review to follow), and some very nice wine, with some very intelligent people. We're all still working on the details (and a name!) but all will be revealed in due time. In the meantime, I urge you- go forth and book club!
Of course, if you're in Oxford, and interested in joining us, let me know and we'll get some details to you when we can...