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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 [email protected] and tell us about your group. If we choose it we'll send you a book voucher for 10.

Wimbledon Bookclub, Wimbledon

Bookgroup of the Month, January 2010

Who are you?

My Name is Gerard Earley and Im the organiser of the Wimbeldon Book club down here in sunny SW19.

There is life down here out side of the tennis fortnight, really!

How did you get started?

I started the bookclub mainly because I wanted to read more and when I looked online I found literally nothing local to join. Or at least nothing nothing open to new members or open to new members irrespective of their gender.

I thought this was a great pity as Merton is an area with a fine literary tradition and nobody seemed willing to make the effort, so I did.

Also, every year I pick a charity or not-for-profit organisation to donate time to. I run my own web design and development company I usually help organisations on that side of things. The best way to get people to join anything these days is online and I also felt it would be a good way to put something back into my local community using my skills to the best advantage.

On the issue of Bookclub members gender, before starting he bookclub I had complained at how difficult it was to find a book club where men were made to feel welcome and I was goaded by my friend who said I should start an "equal opportunities bookclub", which is sort of what I have done. And really our local heritage in Merton is steeped in the issue of social justice, William Morris being a fine local example. So I've tried to make the choice of books as appealing to men as to women. Hopefully William Morris would have approved.

How long have you been going?

Exactly one year. The bookclub was launched in January 2009, when I put the website online and launched the meetup group to organise our events through.

Where and how often do you meet?

We have been to a few different venues over that time but a few months ago we tried a particular venue that I was hoping people would accept as our permanent home. One of the first things someone said when we got there was "wow, so this is our spiritual home now, right?" which was very gratifying indeed.

We have been very lucky to find such a good venue to meet in.

We meet only once per month to discuss books but sometimes other related events appear and members meetup at them. We have been to a random selection films and literary events over the last year.

What sort of books do you read?

We will literally real anything. If the group had a motto it would probably be 'lego quispiam novus' (read something new).

Only a few months ago we read and discussed a Graphic Novel, which took many people by surprise as a suggestion. Its about the Jack the Ripper murders and most or our evening was spent discussing poverty, misogyny and sex workers! I think people genuinely enjoyed reading something different and thought provoking.

The Corrections was also a popular choice with members mainly because it features a selection of very distinct characters, all with different and sometimes conflicting motivations.

Which books have provoked the best discussion?

Brave New World brought some very heated discussion on the issues around modern parenting.

It also brought up the issue of science fiction in literature which eventually led us to read The Left Hand of Darkness, which is very definitely science fiction and also a very powerful work of feminist literature.

What was your worst read?

A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, which was a pity as its a very worthy book. It just depressed every one especial when one of our Russian members said the prisons were even worse than than the book described!

Anything else?

If anyone reads this and wants to join a fab bunch of people who love reading and chatting over a glass of wine (or two).. We can be found online at www.wimbledonbookclub.com.

Happy reading. :)

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