Archive April 2011

Guest blogger: @blackpooltower

A subversive view of book group dynamics from one of our favourite tweeters…

Don’t kid yourself. You didn’t really join so you could “share with likeminded readers”. You want to be the boss of the book group.

Here’s how:

1) Props.

Everyone always brings a copy of the book. Why? To read from it during the
evening? No, that would be lame (see point 5). No one really knows why
they do it. They just do. So you have a living room containing ten
middle-class folks and as many identical paperbacks. Make sure yours
looks the best. NO, I don’t mean it’s been carefully covered in plastic
like they do in the library. I mean it’s, well, a bit f***ed. It’s
warped and stained. It has dogeared pages and contains a stack of notes,
scrawled on random envelopes and receipts. It says “I read this in a
fast fury of intellectual vigour; I consumed it hungrily and fiercely
and I’ve devoured its every significance. Whereas you, feeble sap,
barely broke the spine of yours. Thus I win.”

2) Notes.

You want a great wodge of them, stuffed in your book (see point 1, do keep
up). Not neat and tidy, with words underlined, because that says “girls’
school sixth form” like nothing else. No, these notes are extensive and
they are messy. They say “I read fast, I think fast, I write fast. You
can’t read these notes … and in fact neither can I. Deal with it”.

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Guest blogger: Lucy Foster, Editorial Assistant, Sceptre

‘The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.’

Two Roads book club, Alan Bennett, the Uncommon Reader, the Queen, The End of Your Life Book Club, bunting

a royal flush

We all love Alan Bennett. But first things first – Will and Kate are tying the knot this month so the April Two Roads Book Club was a patriotic feast of HRH bunting, regal tea towels, commemorative paraphernalia, strawberries and cream, Victoria sponge, and pictures of all of our favourite royals and their gigantic engagement rings.

We opened the discussion with thoughts of different ways in which to mark The Big Day (Cornish street parties, camping on Clapham Common, running for the hills, TV watching) and then we moved onto the book. For anyone who doesn’t know The Uncommon Reader, the first thing to mention is that it is gloriously, audaciously short – a brevity that perhaps only King Alan could get away with at £7.99. The second thing to mention, also audacious, also only excusable if carried out by a national treasure, is that it is written almost entirely from the point of view of the Queen, and in many of her own words. ‘Is one allowed to borrow a book? One is a pensioner…’.

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