A small but enthusiastic group, the Harrow Green Community Library Reading Club has been meeting monthly since January and generating a lot of enjoyable and fruitful discussion inspired by books, news articles, poems and other media. The format we chose which aims to set a manageable task each month has worked well so please do come and give us a try.
The aims of the Club have been to stimulate interest in reading and to make the most of the resources of the Harrow Green Community Library where we now have nearly 4 thousand books thanks to the donations of many individuals.
The latest meeting of the Club, its fifth meeting, couldn’t have done more to fulfil these aims. Each of the participants introduced a book, either one that they loved and would recommend to others or one that they struggled with or found impossible to get into. We read extracts from the books and talked about what it was that made the book appeal and made us want to read on or what it was that discouraged us or left us cold.
A wonderful bonus of a group such as this is the intriguing and often unexpected range of titles brought along. These included modern novels such as: Wilt by Tom Sharpe, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and “classics” such as George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and even a Greek tragedy The Oresteia by Aeschylus. This gave us a great opportunity to think about different literary styles and how we react to them. Some of us positively enjoy the old fashioned language and the dense literary style of many of the “classics” though others find it a definite deterrent. And even with a modern novel we were pretty evenly divided between those who had happily read through Hilary Mantel’s Wolfe Hall, and those who found it discouragingly difficult.
Another bonus is that all of the participants discovered something new to them or were persuaded by the discussions to have a go at something that was presented as difficult to read or something that they previously considered ‘not their kind of book’.
The joy of meeting in the Library was that we had copies on hand to borrow so various members of the group left with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Lovely Bones and one of the books in the Wilt series. The Library also provided us with extra resources for our discussions. For example a biography of Mary Shelley shed a bit more light on our understanding of Frankenstein and what might have influenced the nature of the story.
Discussions we had about dramatisation of books – The Lovely Bones made into a film and the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which has won 7 Olivier awards, including Best Play in 2013 – led us to our next topic.
So for the next meeting we aim to bring along some ideas about books that have been made into films or plays – which adaptations have worked and which, perhaps, have not.
Please join us on Monday 29th June between 10 and 12 noon at Harrow Green Community Library in the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone.