Warwickshire's Super Reader's Group shadow the Orange Prize
Jan, from Warwickshire Libraries and a member of Warwickshire's Super Reader's Group, tells us about how they are getting on shadowing the Prize:
The Orange Prize Super Reader's Group in Warwickshire are full steam ahead, reading as if it's going out of fashion, in their bid to meet the deadline of Monday 28 May when they will meet to decide the Warwickshire Orange Prize Winner 2012, and see if it's the same one the judges choose.
About the super group
Our super reader's group is made up of reading group members across the county, who have come together to shadow the Orange Prize, for the second year. This year's group consists of nine members, some of whom have shadowed before, and others for whom it is new. They meet up three times during the period between the short list and the winner being announced. They keep in touch with each other, and discuss the books on the Warwickshire Blog, which we set up especially for the prize. As far as we know, Warwickshire is the first library service to do this. Anyone can look at the site, but cannot post. (Take a look-we're very proud of it!)
At the mid point meeting last night (Monday 14 May), at Kenilworth Library, everyone discussed where they had got to, and they all seem to be racing along. Many only have one book left to read. One member is reading everything on her Kindle, so doesn't have the bother of picking books up from the library. At the outset, Warwickshire Libraries purchased multiple sets of the short listed titles from our local bookshop (Warwick & Kenilworth Books) and organised a swapping system, to ensure that nobody runs out of a book!
What we're thinking
So far, everyone is finding the books very stimulating. Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan has raised lots of comments, some people finding it difficult to get into and read, mainly because of the patois and style. However, once started, it keeps the attention, and rings very true. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller has been well received and enjoyed by many, and the stream of consciousness style of The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright is considered beautiful by some. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett holds the attention from the beginning, and Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick has become a few people's favourite. Strangely, many people have left Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding to last, so there is no "feel" for it as yet. Check out our blog, and you can see that we have separated each book, so that the comments can be easily viewed
How we'll be voting
There was some discussion last night about the criteria for voting, and we came to the conclusion that, at the end of the day, decisions are inevitably quite subjective, even though we try not to be! However, it is quite possible to appreciate a book without actually liking it, and also to love a story but discover the book as a whole is flawed, either because of the language or structure. It is such thoughts that will guide us when it comes to voting.
So do check out our next blog, which will be on Tuesday 29th May, when our winner will be announced. We can't wait to find out who it will be!
Is your reading group or book club shadowing the Orange Prize? Do get in touch, we'd love to hear how you're getting on.