The Hairy Hounds

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National Reading Group Day is a national celebration of reading groups. In this series of articles we look at a range of reading groups and find out what makes them unique.

The Roman poet Horace famously dedicated an ode to a wine jar. The Hairy Hounds, members of a reading group based in the tiny village of Greatford in Lincolnshire, have not gone that far but they, too, appreciate the pleasures that grape and grain and good society have to offer. There is only one rule in their group – have fun!

When they were deciding where to hold their meetings one venue stood out: the village pub. The Hare and Hounds brings people together and strengthens the sense of community in the village. So the group decided to show its support. The pub agreed to host their meetings and the Hairy Hounds were born.

The village pub provides a friendly environment. It’s a place where members can be relaxed and flexible. Best of all, nobody has to spend ages cleaning and preparing their home for a meeting. And if somebody has to leave early it’s no big deal.

There are currently nine members of the group and their ages range from forties to eighties. But their footprint in the village is considerably larger that this might suggest. Each month a copy of their chosen book is left on a shelf in the pub where anyone who comes in can read it. It’s an advert for the book group, a way of growing the pub’s own mini-library and an initiative that brings reading to people who may not have otherwise have bothered with it.

The group’s members are all women but their backgrounds are very diverse. There’s a real range of education, employment and political affiliations. All of this contributes to the liveliness of their discussions and it’s reflected in the choice of books on the Hare and Hound’s library shelf. A selection that is varied and ever-changing but anchored in the lives of a community that knows how to let its hair down.

“We love our Book Club. It has strengthened friendships, forged new ones, brought book reading out of the closet and into the light and has become an established part of Village and pub life.”

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If you’re interested in joining a reading group, take a look at the groups on our site to find groups near you.

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