How appropriate for World Book Day that we can share with you the story of our recent guests and the celebration of their Book Club Anniversary.
When we had a request from the lovely Sarah, saying she wanted to reserve St Marks Stays for herself and her friends who were in a book club together, we were not sure what their weekend may entail at first. Immediately on arrival though, they were generous enough to answer all our obvious questions and it all fell in to place and their story unfolded over the course of the weekend.
Celebrating 15 years since the book club started near their home towns in Yorkshire, the ladies had decided to go away together for their book meeting on this occasion and selected Sedbergh due to it being a book town of the North.
As part of their weekend, they were discussing Ali Smith’s book, Winter, but I won’t give away their reviews of it, as I think that is for them and the exclusivity of their group. Over the course of the weekend, they wrote down the titles of all the books they could remember reading as a group, which has totalled over 90. They brought with them, their favourite coffee table books and books that have meant something to them. We loved seeing all this in the lounge and Joanne loved the fact that the books ranged from shiney new covers, to dog-eared corners and even those still containing a train ticket as a bookmark.
One of our obvious questions was, ‘What if you disagree quite a lot over a book?’ The answer simply being that, that is what a discussion as a club can be about. To see something from someone else’s point of view, or think of something in a different way. Maybe this should be a metaphor for life really.
The book club has some founding members, some new members and they were lovingly lighting a candle for a member sadly no longer with them to celebrate her life. These ladies are as varied in life as everyone else, being mums, an artist, accountant, health professional, teachers, civil servant and gardener. They are at various stages in life with younger and older children, have different interests and do have different views on the books they read, but how fabulous that their shared interest in reading had brought them away for a weekend of relaxation.
They said their best experience in Sedbergh was the second hand book shops and being able to have some ‘slow time’ and simply be with friends.
Their top tips for creating a sustainable book club was to have a structure and a few rules. At their meetings, everyone takes along two questions about the book to be discussed at random. The books are marked out of 7 and it is very much a book club with the added extra of wine and nibbles, as opposed to a wine and nibbles evening that happens to have a discussion about a book.
The question you all want to know … ‘What has been their highest scoring book?’
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.