LET'S TALK: Erina Library Book Club members discuss Suite Francaise at this month's meeting, but despite the smiles, don't expect it to have been a winner with everyone.
LET'S TALK: Erina Library Book Club members discuss Suite Francaise at this month's meeting, but despite the smiles, don't expect it to have been a winner with everyone.

Bookclubs going strong on the Coast

WHILE book shops these days are hard to find, book clubs on the Central Coast are as strong as ever, at least partially thanks to council libraries, like Erina.

While the name the First Friday Book Club sounds like an excellent book title in itself, I'm told the name came from much more practical purposes, so that people wouldn't forget when to meet.

It appears that hasn't been a problem, with group numbers growing to such an extent it had to split, forming the simply named Erina Library Book Club, which meets at 9.30am, while the First Friday members meet at 11am. Convenor of the offshoot group Chris Moffitt said there were currently about 15 members in each.

Chris, and First Friday convenor Jane Adams, agreed that, apart from members all being over 55, each group was quite an eclectic mix, coming from varied backgrounds, meaning their opinions of books rarely coincided.

"We've had some very vibrant discussions," Chris said with a laugh.

"Everyone has different ideas about the books, so we've had some real fun with it.

"I don't think we've ever had a monthly book which everyone has liked."

And that, Jane said, was part of the enjoyment, learning other people's interpretations of the book being "dissected".

A former social worker, Jane said she had been an avid reader all her life, and couldn't imagine going to bed without a book; a fascination she traces back to memories of early childhood cycling to the library in County Durham with her mother for fairy tales. Others in the group come from a literature background, while others, like Chris herself, are less serious readers, but enjoy the experience of reading, sharing opinions, and the social side of meeting people and developing friendships.

"The discussions really open your eyes to many things you may not have seen on your own reading," Chris said.

"It also introduces you to different genres. I have read a lot of different books that I otherwise wouldn't have ever looked at. It's quite a learning experience."

As well as the book under discussion, Chris said the groups were also a chance to network regarding other good reads. She said The Light Between Oceans was one of this year's favourites, while Gould's Book of Fish divided the group, many of whom found it a difficult read, and The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett created a great deal of passion, with members affronted that author Colleen McCullough had tainted Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Clubs choose their books from a library list of availability, including everything from new releases to classics, and 10 books (and an audio book where possible) are supplied to each group for members to read, discuss and evaluate the story, author and subject, before enjoying a library-supplied morning tea.

If you are interested in joining a book club, contact your local library to find out the nearest one to you. For inquiries at Erina, call 43047650.


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