Reading is one of the best solitary activities there is, and I for one have always been – since I could read I guess – a big old book worm.
But one thing that you can’t do alone, is discuss the book afterwards – and this is something I love to do. It’s like going to see a film: for me, the best part is discussing the film afterwards with the person you went with. And as much as I love solo cinema going I do miss that post-mortem part.
So books are no different. On the odd occaision someone has read the same book as me – ideally recently because my memory sucks – there’s nothing like a good discussion about the book. What we liked, what we didn’t like, what we learned.
Oh and on that note – most of the books – 99% – are non-fiction. For whatever reason, I got on the non-fiction train a few years ago and haven’t gotten off since, apart from the odd graphic novel.
But I don’t have many friends who read non-fiction quite as avidly as I do, well, until I moved to Brighton. Last year, while hunting for speakers for a live event myself and a friend put on, Wildfire Women, I met Donna for the first time.
Donna is the founder of Gozen Girls and has recently started her own podcast.
The idea behind Gozen Girls is getting together to discuss books, mostly non-fiction, written by women. The non-fiction part is what hooked me, and I finally went to my first GG book club: I didn’t have a choice when I saw the book to be discussed was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I loveElizabeth Gilbert. So much. I had put off reading Eat Pray Love for the longest time, purely because I thought it was – and please don’t get offended – ‘chick lit’. I thought it was a fictional account of some soppy love story and that just didn’t inspire me to read.
But then someone gave me a copy as a gift, and I decided – why the hell not. Since reading EPL, I declared my all out fangirl status for Elizabeth Gilbert and decided to consume all of her works.
Big Magic is her finest work, in my opinion, second only by a hair to EPL.
Now it’s safe to say that the book club were a fan too. And, happily, everyone there was all up for having those big conversations that Gilbert starts in Big Magic: about creativity, the resistance, fear, courage, purpose, creative calling and so much more.
It was an awesome night full of stimulating conversations that left me pondering all sorts of questions afterwards, and reminded me of how lucky I am to have this creative, open minded community on my doorstep. Which I guess I already knew, but if someone didn’t know that, all they would have to do is go to a book club like this and see for themselves.
And that’s my message for you today. Is there a ready-made community available for you on your doorstep? May be it’s also a book club – they’re common in most cities. Or can you be the one to start one, like Donna?
It doesn’t take much to get a group of people giving there opinions about something they love, like a book, and you don’t have to do anything other than show up. In fact, a couple of women who joined us did just that: they sat back and absorbed.
I didn’t leave feeling drained, likely because it was lifted to two hours which is just about my limit, and everyone was polite enough to give each other space to pipe up, if they wanted.
No pressure from Donna, who was a wonderful facilitator: who asked great questions and gave us a worksheet to go through which I found very helpful. If you’re subscribed to the Museletter you’ll receive the questions Donna gave us from that in this week’s update.
So, a perfectly introvert friendly evening, even if it was technically a group environment.
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