I would be hard pressed to call myself a bookworm. My nose isn’t forever stuck in a book, but I have always enjoyed reading. At junior school I read Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfield. At secondary school I skipped my ballet lessons and went to the library instead to read books on the occult (I wanted to be a witch!) and John Wyndham novels. The first book to have a huge impact on me was Wuthering Heights. I hadn’t read a novel before that had captivated me quite like Emily Bronte’s tale of love and revenge on the wild Yorkshire moors. I still have the copy of the book I read in 1975. I am ashamed to say that it belonged to the English department at school and somehow I forgot to return it along with the viola I’d borrowed from the music department!
In my twenties I went all highbrow when I found myself a rather brainy and cultured boyfriend. Out went the Jilly Cooper blockbusters and in came Edna O’Brian and Emile Zola! Only penguin books with orange spines would do. My relationship with the clever boyfriend sadly fizzled out and back came Jilly.
Fast forward thirty years and my reading habits have changed very little. Still opting for easy to read novels. Nothing too taxing and usually of the same genre. I don’t like the term chic lit, but for want of a better word, that’s what has been filling the shelves of our bookcase for sometime now.
To get me out of my reading rut I decided to join our WI book group. I’d been toying with joining a group but didn’t want to end up struggling with having to read and then discuss anything too weighty. I opted for the WI group as all the books are chosen by its members and as none of us are into heavy literature and like a good yarn, there was no risk of me feeling out of my depth.
So, what have I read since I joined?
The Island by Victoria Hislop For ages the members favourite choice. We were all ready to hop on the next plane to Crete. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. The characters annoyed me too much!
The Help by Kathryn Stockett I’d seen the film version of the book several times so knew the plot. As often the case, the book was much better than the film. Great to discuss the issues raised in the book.
The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachen This was an odd little tale. Most of us really didn’t enjoy it, and yet one member thought it was wonderful. I struggled through it until the last twenty odd pages when I suddenly started to warm to it.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green I have to say I was a bit dubious about reading this as it is classed as a young adult book. Of course I cried reading it. We all did. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t think I’ll make reading a young adult’s book a habit.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters This was my choice. I plucked the title out of the air as I hadn’t given my choice any thought. I think everyone was a little shocked by my choice. I really had no idea what it was about!
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins A summer best seller and a perfect holiday read. I enjoyed it but to be honest, the minute I had finished it I had forgotten who the characters were.
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes Oh my goodness, this was hard to read at times. A novel about domestic violenceis never going to be a comfortable read. All of us felt that it would be wrong to call it an enjoyable read, but weall admitted that it was a real page turner.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Mr R had read this only months before and was desperate for me to read it. It was a real struggle not to give the plot away. For the first fifty or sixty pages, I really wasn’t getting it. I was disappointed and Mr R just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loving it. Then I “got it” and from then on absolutely fell in love with the book. This is a book that I’m going to remember for years to come. No wonder it’s a classic.
The C Word by Lisa Lynch I feel guilty for admitting that thiswas my least favourite book. Maybe I would have felt differently if I hadn’t already seen the TV adaptation.
Tonight is our book club meeting, We are reviewing The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion I can’t wait to discuss it. I absolutely loved it and it was so nice for a change to read a love story with a happy ending that made me laugh!
Joining the book group was one of the best decisions I made last year. I love reading books I wouldn’t normally choose, and best of all I’ve made some fabulous new friends. Do give a book group a go. Find one that suits you and if there isn’t one, then why not start your own!