Group report

This is an article published in the Spring 2018 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter....

Our reading group started at the end of 2014 and we have been going strong ever since. We started with seven then a further member joined us and so we became eight.

We have become firm friends with each of us bringing a different perspective on life from varying backgrounds to the discussions. An additional benefit is that we have been able to support each other when life has become a bit tough.

We have found that 8 is the right number for us. We meet in each other’s homes to review the current book so seating for 8 is enough and always served with homemade cake or other tasty treats. The books are chosen from the Library group reading lists by us, each member providing me with a list which I then order when they become available from the Library. It is possible to order up to one year in advance but even then we sometimes have to wait months to obtain a particular book (adds to the anticipation).

The discussions can become a little warm (won’t say heated) but nobody has walked out in a huff – yet! For myself I have found belonging to the group has made me read books that I would not have normally chosen and interestingly on occasion have come to a review saying that I have not enjoyed a book only to think again when I hear the other points of view.

What is lovely is when a book inspires further investigation and this is then revealed at our meeting. A recent read ‘Every Man for Himself’ by B Bainbridge, a fictional account of one person’s Titanic experience led to Pam telling about her husband’s interest in the Titanic and she brought along some of his research stuff to share with us. Likewise Jane had visited the Titanic museum in Belfast.

We score our reads from 1 to 10 and at the end of the year we look back at our reads and see if we want to change our score (I keep a spreadsheet that works out the stats for me in case of variables).

Twice a year we treat ourselves to lunch out - once in the summer and then at Christmas.

Our best read for 2017 was ‘The Help’ by K Stockett (83.75/100) and the least liked was ‘Mourning Ruby’ by H Dunmore (22.5/100).

Sylvia Clamp