How to feel good - Make Friends with a Book
3 February 2012 / 0 Comments
Make Friends with a Book is the name of two fantastic reading groups, taking place in libraries in Sandwell on a weekly basis one in Smethwick Library and one in Bleakhouse Library . Unlike regular reading groups, the focus is on well being and mental health promotion and it is clear that the groups offer invaluable support to members.
'Make Friends with a Book was recommended to me as I was off on long term sick ,stuck in the house and feeling lonely. I really enjoyed using my brain and taking part in the discussions. It made me feel much better in myself.'
The groups started in 2009 and 2010 respectively and have approximately seven regular members. They are led by a facilitator who reads aloud to the group. This is followed by a discussion amongst the group in which people discuss their immediate thoughts and responses to what's been read. There is no pressure to participate and members can take part as and when they feel comfortable.
The groups are very inclusive. They are open to anyone interested in hearing literature read aloud in a small informal setting. Reading ability is not important as the members don't have to read a book before the meeting and because the material is read aloud, people with visual impairment are able to take part.
The groups read short stories, poems, novels and plays by a wide range of authors including Chekhov, Brecht, Dickens and Shakespeare, as well as contemporary writers like Joanne Harris and Frank Cottrell Boyce. Over the last two years the groups have also read and attended the Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest.
Being read to is relaxing and pleasurable. Group members really benefit from this experience and, as they relax something even more fantastic happens: they start to bond and make friends. These friendships, along with the knowledge that they have tackled reading material that they might never have read by themselves, gives them a huge boost in confidence, and an enormous sense of well-being.
'Before I came to the group I was fed up with being on my own in the house. Now I really look forward to coming to the group. I enjoy the interaction with people and feel privileged to hear their point of view.'
Make Friends with a Book recommend
Don't Tell Me Ma by Brian Keenan
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Short Stories by Joanne Harris
If your reading group or book club has a story to tell, please do get in touch as would we love to hear it.