On Reading Groups for Everyone, we have groups from all over the UK and they’re all very different! There are groups of varying sizes, ages and interests, some meet monthly while others just a few times a year, but they all have one thing in common — they love reading and talking about books! We caught up with a few reading groups to tell us what they like about being in a reading group and how they benefit from using Reading Groups for Everyone.
Methley Book Group
We meet in a craft cafe in south Leeds, on the last Thursday of the month. We now have 28 members. We kept going through lockdowns on zoom and even gained some new members! We have an active WhatsApp group to share reading recommendations and thoughts between meetings.
The group is a mix of ages. Most people join to meet others who enjoy reading. It’s a nice social gathering with coffee and cake. We tackle a wide variety of books and I think everyone enjoys being challenged to read something outside their comfort zone.
The Reading Agency is a great source of information about new books and events. We have really appreciated having real books given to us, particularly when the library could only provide virtual reads. We’ve really enjoyed reading and reviewing a wide variety of titles with the help of The Reading Agency.
Higham Book Club
Over the years, our members have told the group that being part of the book club is a great way to make friends and feel part of the village. We have one member who moved to the village and didn’t know about, but through the book club she has made new friends, joined other groups and felt part of the community. We started as a library-based group, however have become a group of friends who regularly meet, with books as a common theme! During the pandemic, the group has helped us to stay connected as a regular activity, and we worked together to install a Little Library (Higham’s Little Book Box) to benefit our local community, including developing a tiny scrub of land under the Book Box into a flower haven for bees and insects!
Through being part of Reading Groups for Everyone, we’ve explored new books, genres and some extraordinary narratives. It has introduced us to new authors such as Sunjeev Sahota. We received copies of The China Room which we really enjoyed, and it’s a book that would not normally be picked as one of our monthly reads. When we win sets of books, we donate them them to Medway Library to support other reading groups to have access to books, and we always put one into our Book Box for others to explore. We also browse the book lists and get lots of suggestions and opportunities from The Reading Agency’s Facebook page. We feel that we are part of an organisation that supports our book club and helps us to enjoy literature!
Found in Translation
Our reading group, ‘Found in Translation’, was created when long-time friends Rae and Helen met in a café in Birmingham in March 2019 and started talking about books and book groups. Helen was currently not a member of a book group, so they decided to start a group together. Keen to have a theme to structure the group around, they chose ‘fiction in translation’ as an opportunity to read more work from writers working in other languages and cultures. Found in Translation is currently made up of 4-5 members who meet once a month over Zoom. We love being part of a reading group, and particularly one with a focus on fiction in translation, because it pushes us towards books and authors that we wouldn’t necessarily discover, or get to quite as quickly. It opens a window into the lives and experiences of people in other countries and cultures and makes us reflect on our own. As a result, we end up having really interesting discussions about cultural difference, and history, culture and language more generally. On many occasions, it then makes us want to read more about the country or event that the novel is based around. We also have a Whatsapp group where we share further reflections on the books we’ve read or articles related to the books, authors or just the art/science of translation in general, keeping the conversation going between meetings.
Being part of Reading Groups for Everyone has similar benefits in that it provides a hub for community, information and discovery – and the opportunity to receive free books is a welcome bonus! Through book recommendations we’ve found on Reading Groups for Everyone, we have encountered new authors and genres, and it’s been a fruitful source of inspiration for our book selections.
If you’re thinking about joining a reading group, what are you waiting for? Get a group of friends, family or colleagues together and start your own, or find one to join through our website or your local library. Make sure you sign up to Reading Groups for Everyone to apply to receive free sets of books for your group to read and review.
If you’re starting a workplace reading group, find out how Pearson English team run their group for inspiration and tips.
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