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Bookgroup of the Month Archive

Every month we feature a different bookgroup. We'd like to hear from other bookgroups. Please email us at info@bookgroup.info and tell us about your group. If we choose it we'll send you a book voucher for 10.

Daniel Defoe Book Group, London

Bookgroup of the Month, February 2007

Who are you?

A mixed group based aged roughly mid 20s to late 30s, based in North East London. One of many reading groups in Stoke Newington, an area which for centuries has traditionally attracted free thinking intellectuals, rebels, and arty types (not sure how many of us really fit into any of those categories though).

How did you get started?

The group started about 6 years ago when a guy called Leo placed an ad on a local chat forum. It started as a peripatetic group touring the many fine pubs of Stoke Newington but settled in the Defoe about 4 and a bit years ago. And finally this month we will read one of our host's books - Moll Flanders!

How long have you been going?

There's a core group of around 5 of us who have been going for roughly 4 years. Other members have come and gone. We lost a couple of members to maternity leave recently - one draw back with meeting in a pub is its not asthma or pregnancy friendly.

Where and how often do you meet?

We meet every 4-5 weeks on a Tuesday evening in the Daniel Deofe pub in Stoke Newington. This makes it a relaxed event and easy for people to dip in and out of. Some people just stay long enough to discuss the book then leave while others carry on the discussion or have a general chat until closing time.

What sort of books do you read?

We try to read books which take you to another place - this may be another part of the world or another time. We made a few selections on the basis that we hadn't read anything set in that part of the world yet. We read a mixutre of English orignals and books in translation plus the odd classic from time to time.
Our choices are fairly middle brow, we generally try to avoid Richard & Judy or 3 for 2 books.

Which books have provoked the best discussion?

A Passage to India - great discussion about bigotry and how far the Brits have managed to move on from colonialism.

The Good Women of China - a deeply moving book.

Blindness - we read this at the time of Hurricane Katrina and it seemed as though the plague of anarchy and looting on the page was coming alive on the news. A fascinating book and inspired timing.

What was your worst read?

5 Photos of My Wife - very drab, not many could bring themselves to finish it although it was less than 200 pages.
On A Winter's Night.... - much pressure to choose this and then nobody turned up to the meeting, partly becasue the book didn't live up to its reputation.
The Da Vinci Code - I'm still ashamed we collectively put so much money in Dan Brown's coffers!

Anything else?

I love my book group! It's a great way to meet people locally and is always an interesting night out.
I've read some books I may never have heard of otherwise and some of them really have been life changing.

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