Written by Marilyn Levi
You can listen to Marylin reading this post on the audio version of our latest Newsletter
There are some brilliant facts about SAMS: the friendly welcoming atmosphere, the high standard of our lay readers, the food! I would like to nominate the SAMS Book Group, which certainly merits a place as one of our special features.
I have been coming to the Book Group for two or three years and always find it entertaining and fun with our lively discussions. It is also a very interesting way of learning about books, which I would not have otherwise read.
Pauline Symons is the group leader, and while she gives us a brief outline of the title of the chosen book at the start of each meeting, I hear mutters of ‘I loved it’, ‘I hated it’!
Everybody at the Book Group has strong opinions, and it is fascinating to find that the same book can create such diverse reactions. What a stimulating experience it is to listen to people explain why they like a book, that I really did not enjoy, and try to understand their point of view. I am not always convinced, but nevertheless, it makes for a fascinating discussion.
In December, we had a rare occurrence: everybody loved
the book ‘A Marriage of Opposites’ by Alice Hoffman.
I think this is the very first time that we have all agreed on how much we enjoyed a book. We were all quite stunned to be able to share our delight in the experience of reading this book. It appealed to all our tastes, and to every age group. There was also a factual element to it, as it was based on the Caribbean ancestors of Camille Pissaro.
Over the last few meetings, we have read a varied selection of contemporary literature, making it a rule to not choose too long a book. Perhaps the exception was ‘Here I am’ by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I was pleased to read.
We are also considering some non‐fiction titles, such as
Jeremy Paxman’s autobiography.
At the moment, we are quite a small group of nine or ten people who attend regularly, so it would be good to encourage more members to try it out. Come along and enjoy the coffee and biscuits, but I am sure you will get far more from it with some stimulating company and literary ideas flying.
After our discussions about the chosen book, we always enjoy the process of choosing the next book to read. This is voted for with a show of hands in a democratic way.
Sometimes, if a book has been runner up several times, it is then chosen for a future meeting, which was the case for ‘Exposure’ by Helen Dunmore, discussed in February. This was a fascinating story of 1960s Cold War and how it affected a family. This book matched our December choice of ‘A Marriage of Opposites’ in that it was enjoyed by everyone. Two hits in three months is quite a success rate.
The next book on our list is ‘The Gustav Sonata’ by Rose Tremain.
Do come and join our lively arts discussion group.