Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chit-chat Wednesday and The Magic Hat Bookclub

I started a bookclub!
Yes a real and honest bookclub where people meet and discuss books. At first I thought people mightn't be interested or I’d only get a few along but the reverse was true. More than enough people were as keen as mustard.
I played around with the idea of joining an online bookclub, but for ages I had fantasies about living in a country village and starting a bookclub. Finally I thought, 'start one where you are!'
We have a great venue - Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newtown have kindly given us a room.
The first meeting was the other night and I was terribly nervous. It's one thing to come up with these ideas but I realised I had teachers, academics and book club experts coming along and I knew nothing about running a bookclub. Of course I didn't have to worry. The women present were all lovely and although not all of them knew each other, it only took minutes before they were all chatting away as if they were old friends.
The book we had selected for the first meeting was 'The Time Traveller's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger. It made for a lively and stimulating discussion.
We called ourselves The Magic Hat bookclub as the books we are reading for future meetings are pulled from my magic hat.
As the official Magic Hat Bookclub Facebook forum states:
It is a bookclub for fab bookworms who love words, glamour and magic hats.
I do think bookclubs are a lovely thing to do. One friend I invited said, 'No way. I don't do groups and life is too short to read books dictated by others.' I do see her point but I disagree. I think when you read outside your comfort zone you discover incredible treasures that enhance your life. I attend crime writer Tara Moss's Literary Salon. Through her salons I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and Monkey Mask by Dorothy Porter - two books I never would have thought would interest me but I loved both of them so much!
Tara's Salon also inspired me to start my own bookclub as her events are very glamorous, stimulating and fabbo but I realised I knew many fabbo people as well and I don't see them as often as I would like due to the fact we all live such busy lives.
My neighbour and pal are also starting a craft group which also has a large number of people wanting to come along. I do love the idea of forming these community groups of women in inner-city areas where we can meet to learn crafting skills or discuss books. It is the always inspiring Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes! who also got me thinking about bookclubs and crafting groups as she had achieved so much with her Brown Owls in Melbourne.
How about you? Are you a person who loves group and community meetings? Do tell, I'd love to hear. xx


  1. Oh,i so wish i lived near you,just try and keep me away!!! I would love to be in a bookclub,it sounds like a wonderful group of girls!!!! I met a crime writer the other night,she was a patients daughter!! Sue Bursztynski! She was lovely and we talked books all shift whilst i looked after her dad!I love chatting books!!! You go girl,good on you for organizing it!

    Les xxxx

  2. Hello Josephine

    Good for you! I think I too would have been nervous on the first meeting. I am so pleased that it was a success. I have never been to a book club or any other group. I am a bit of a loner...sounds a bit anti social but I have never been a team person when I used to work in a big company. Something that proved to be a problem at times...That is why I have been self employed for so long now. It suits my personality more. Having said that, I did enjoy being in the little crochet group back in the summer when I had crochet lessons.

    I reckon I'd enjoy your group and if I lived a lot closer I'd give it a go!

    The traveller's wife is a book which IO would like to read as it happens.

    It is so true what you say about only reading some types or books and never considering others, taht would apply to me too when it comes to novels. I only seem to be attracted to certain themes and keep going back to them. I avoid sad stories, horror and anything harrowing...

    I will look up the books you have recommended!

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  3. ooo craft group sounds good! My job used to be contacting book clubs to offer them free 'proofs' to read and review when I worked in publishing and I managed the company's book-club website. It was really interesting and great fun! I do like the idea...but I have never got involved because I find I really am a mood reader. I will try a large range of stuff but I choose my next read based on how I feel at the time. I just finished a book of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (focussed on Nigeria) so I probably don't feel like short stories again...gone for a gritty Brixton gang-fighting title...and if that is depressing the next book will probably be something more upbeat...just the way I roll... still, I think one day I shall give them a go...when I have some more time! :) Hope you enjoy the next book - and I'd love to hear what you think of the Time Traveller's Wife - I simply adored that book! xxx

  4. I love this idea- I've always wanted to join a book club but the only thing that has stopped me is I'm terribly picky about what I read and would hate to have to read something I'm not interested in... so selfish, I know! Oprah Winfrey has a book club that I tried to keep up with but couldn't. I just love my mysteries too much! xo

  5. I love groups consisting of people who share an interest. I now belong to two book club - they're very different - and a writers' group. Love both. And a friend an I are starting a lunch group a deux next year; we'll meet for lunch one a month, somewhere nice, because otherwise weeks go by and we never have a chance to catch up, except on the phone.

    I can see that the Magic Hat book club is going to make me read authors that I would not necessarily have read otherwise. And I love going to Newtown.

    In all, a great development in my life!! Thanks for including me Jose.


  6. Josephine this is really amazing what you have done. You have started something, a beautiful something. Well done.

  7. I have never been in a book club. I am not much of a group joiner. That said, I would LOVE to be in a group with intelligent women who love to read and talk about what they read. Wish I could join your group.xoxo

  8. how good of you to organise your own literary salon! i would love to join something like this, but don't get around to actually reading much at the moment. maybe when the babies are older ... the craft group sounds great too, i'd definately be there if i lived closer! i agree about pip being so inspirational, she's really elevated the profile of craft.

  9. Oh J wish I could go to your club it sounds fab!
    I have the Time travellers wife as an audio book so will be starting to 'read' that myself soon. x

  10. Wow you have been so busy! Very very well done, especially as you say it must have been nerve-wracking at first. However I must be one of the only people who hated 'The Time Travellers Wife', so right at the start I'd have been in contention, mind you that's not always a bad thing.
    Very best of luck with both your groups, but hope it doesn't take you away from blogging and us lot too much!


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