We know we have a book arriving in the post and that soon we are to read it. Yet we do not know what the book is called, or who it is by, or even if it is a book we have heard of before. It might be from an unfamiliar genre, or it might be a book that we have so far avoided reading for various reasons. The fact is we know we have a book coming from a certain person - we know we are going to read it - we just do not know what it is.
I have never been part of a book group because I have never thought I could read a book that someone else chose for me especially if I thought I wouldn't like the book. I think the problem is that I tended to build up reservations or prejudices against certain books and then I wouldn't be able to read it. With the vine - there is none of that, it is simple - the book is chosen and you read it. You have no time to build up reservations.
And so I open my heart to this book and I don't care if it is not my kind of book, I simply do not think "will I like this book" or "will I hate it?" I simply open myself up to this book and it's taught me to be much more open minded then I was before. There is an extra factor to it of course - the book has travelled across the world and it represents a part of the person who chose to send it. So it is more then merely a book that I am reading to discuss with a group.
We're on our last leg of the vine with only one or two more books to be read before the circle is complete. And then we continue with a different format. Reading for the vine is a commitment and it can be time consuming though definitely enjoyable. Keeping a book a secret from people for so long comes with it's own problems of course - such as trying not to talk about it where its identity could be guessed at.
Has anyone here been a part of a book circle or a book group, how has this influenced your reading choices?
Being able to sit down and just read sometimes seems harder then it actually is. For instance, right now I should be reading The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough not sitting here writing a blog post, or being distracted by Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Where did all these social media websites suddenly come from?
So where do you go to find peace and quiet? For me it is not always peace and quiet I like - my favourite reading spots are in cafés, over a nice cup of tea or a latte, or on buses and trains. It is these busy places, with the noise and chaos of other people's lives I find the most peaceful place to read. Sometimes, if it is too quiet I find myself distracting myself.
Often though, during the summer I like going to Haslar Naval Cemetery which holds the dead of the Navy from the mid nineteenth century to modern times. It was built sometime in the nineteenth century as the grounds of the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar becoming rather overflown with the dead from wars going back as far as Trafalgar. The hospital was opened in 1762 and only closed late last year after 247 years as a working hospital - first for the Royal Navy and then for the public as well. It is to become a place for veterans and dementia suffers apparently but I will hold judgement on that until I see it happening.
I am well aware this might sound a little strange to some, probably utterly boring to many - it is not a fascination with death I have, but rather with the lives of the people who once were, their experiences, their history and past lives.
The trouble is, I do find myself so easily distracted, so finding the right place to read is important. Where does everyone else like to read? Your comfy arm chair, on the loo, in the garden?