You will be glad to hear that I am finally coming out of the depths of a cold and was able to get back into my desert social life. One of the highlights of last week was attending my monthly book club. Now before you roll your eyes, pass me off to the realms of middle age and shout Geek! I’ll let you into a little secret.
So before the summer break, one of my newest desert friends invited me to attend a book club. After enjoying this literary get together in her last expat life, she thought resurrecting it desert side would be fun. Now when I first came to Kuwait, I was asked on more than one occasion to join a book reading group of ladies. I had always politely declined and thought to myself, I maybe new to the desert but I’m not desperate! However on this occasion, the lady that asked was a someone I actually liked and the group of attendees were all friends and people I’d come across, and not hated, so I thought why not? It should be noted at this point, that Hubby laughed for about a week when I told him I’d joined, so I can just imagine your initial thoughts reading this.
The rules were simple, each month someone would host and select a book for the rest of the group to read. It was all very organised with a group email outlining the novel of choice and the deadline to meet and discuss. So a few weeks later we all turned up, kindles in hand, due to the fact you can barely buy a book here, and looked forward to the evening ahead. This is where I got a bit apprehensive. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, was it going to be high brow discussion about prose, themes and characterisation? Should I have made notes? Would our host have an array of pre prepared questions to debate? Was I smart enough to attend? What if I made a prat of myself mispronouncing names and places (you know when you read a whole book saying one thing in your head and then realise you are totally wrong)?
The pressure mounted, but I quickly realised this was not the kind of book club. As we made ourselves comfortable, we all started to tuck into the nibbles, drinks were poured and the chin wagging began.
Spirits were high and we chatted away discussing anything and everything, except the book!
It was well over an hour before our host suggested that we should actually talk about the book, which to my surprise everyone had actually read, and not just blagged it in order to get a night out. This is where it got a little awkward, as we took turns to voice our opinion, everyone was saying how much they loved it and what a great read. Then it got to me I dropped the bombshell. I didn’t like it…..gasps, looks of dismay, shaking of heads, eyes like daggers!
Only joking, luckily there was someone else that agreed with me, but I was in the spotlight to explain why. Erm…oh my god it was English Lit A-level all over again, I used to sit in the back and pray, don’t pick me, don’t pick me. But my desert gals were a lot less scary, than that teacher, and a fun debate ensued, setting the 17 year old me at rest. It was a great evening and I was as happy as Lydia Bennet setting sights on Wickham.
If you understood that little literary analaogy, please read on….
Last week was the 2nd instalment, after what seemed like a mammoth summer break, I was really looking forward to getting round the reading table once more. Admittedly the group was smaller this time round, due to numerous commitments, but the book worms that remained were still enthused. I loved how at ease we all were together and that it seemed like a “normal” night out with the girls (albeit getting lost in the cab, on the way there. It still baffles me why Taxi drivers don’t know their way around).
As we sat in my Scottish gal’s living room, laughing at her new cats trying to climb into handbags, I thought we really could have been anywhere in the world.
This time we did get onto discussing the book a little quicker, mainly because we all loved it and this was a very emotive novel, which we were eager to discuss. The opinions flew round the room, heads nodded in agreement and favourite moments recalled. We were in deep conversation, not only about the chosen title, but everything else we had read over the long summer. I never thought that discussing books would be so much fun. Ok, ok, so a part of me really likes the geekiness of this, but the enthusiasm of the other ladies and the genuine interest shown in what each other has to say is refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, whilst there was a good decent discussion on this months book, we did go off on many a tangent and it got rather raucous when discussing the US election, Trump and Orange is the new black!
Yes a book club may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t write it off (sorry couldn’t resist that pun). I have met some new people through this little social event every month, got to know others a whole lot better and read two novels, that I would not normally gravitate towards. Now the people has everything to do with my enjoyment, we are a bunch of like minded desert gals, who love to read and know how to have a giggle. I’m sure I would not have enjoyed the previous invitations quite so much and I have a sneaky suspicion, they are the kind of people who would have made notes in margins!
Next month I am the hostess with the mostest and efficiently sent my email with my chosen book and I hope I won’t have failed on the selection. For now, its head down into my chosen thriller and remember, we maybe be in a book club but we are still people.