t4w Book Club: West Sussex County Council

This month we meet Book Lovers from West Sussex County Council

book-club-daylight-gateThe members of this book club are all colleagues at West Sussex County Council, in environment or planning. They will be meeting on 6th February 2014 to discuss The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson.

How did it all begin?

Our group was set up in 2011 after a couple of us discovered a shared love of reading. We wanted to discuss our ideas about books and initially thought we could just get the same book out of the library. But when we asked around, we found others who were interested in joining in. We now have 11 members from four different teams. We’re mostly girls but boys are allowed.

We meet once a month at lunchtime – it’s a good excuse to go to the pub, or even take a picnic to the park in summer. If you have chosen the book for the month, you also get to choose where the group meets, so we get to try new pubs and restaurants too! It’s a great way to get out of the office and a chance to get to know people in other teams, and move beyond those brief exchanges at the photocopier.

What happens at the meetings and how do we choose the books?

We take it in turns to choose a book so we do get to read things we wouldn’t normally pick up. The Library Service has a list of books that they have multiple copies of – or you can just find a title you like the look of and see if they’ve got enough. Our members pay just £2 a year for this service.
Our meetings are very sociable and the chance to gossip is a very important part of our meetings! But we do talk about the books too! We don’t ever follow the book club questions, which sometimes appear in the back. Quite often the critique is at the level of would we keep the book, read it again or recommend it to anyone else? Or, we talk about how annoying a particular heroine is, how unpleasant the characters or situation are and “oh my god that’s so Shades of Grey!”.

What highs and lows has the group seen?

It’s always a shame if people have to drop out but that will always happen. Not everyone reads every book and that’s fine too. Not all books will be to everyone’s taste, but most of us will give everything a go at least. Most people gave up on Barrack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. And Heart of Darkness (read in April 2012) still brings forth gales of laughter … “the horror, the horror”. We’re now on our 29th book, The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson, and we are still going strong.