Thursday, 24 May 2012

Book Group by Candlelight


Last night was our monthly book group meeting. It was so warm we sat in my friends house with the patio doors wide open, listening to the sounds from the garden and enjoying the evening breeze with a glass of wine. Debora, our hostess, had baked a lemon and ricotta tart. As it grew dark she lit lots of candles. Book group is not usually a candlelit affair, but the summer evening seemed to call for it.

We started our group almost four years ago and found that "I'm going to book group" sounds a lot better than "I'm going to the pub" when trying to organise a night off, babysitters, that sort of thing. The book part is incidental, it just gives us a valid reason to meet up. Last night we read The Restaurant of Love Regained by Ito Ogawa. We all agreed that it is a very odd little book, but no less enjoyable for that. A young woman is left suddenly by her boyfriend, who takes all her possessions and money with him. Broke and desperate, she returns to the mountain village she grew up in and opens a tiny restaurant on her Mother's land. It is full of lengthy, vivid descriptions of food - from the killing of the animal to the serving of the meal - and these are wonderful. But I felt vaguely dissatisfied when I'd finished it by too characters and situations that weren't fully explored or resolved.

Next month's book is F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and I am really looking forward to this one. I read it about twelve years ago as a student but after hearing a brilliant adaptation of it on Radio 4 a few weeks ago, I am dying to re-read it. What are you reading at the moment? Can you give me any recommendations for future book group meetings?

13 comments:

Col @ Hello Olive said...

I love my monthly book group! It's always great to have a catchup with the girls and have a glass of wine and some good food. The best book I have read recently was 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother'. It was amazing - can't believe how hectic her child rearing methods are. A real page turner! x

FourHappyBunnies said...

Isn't candlelight beautiful. Loving the diptyque candle - on my wish list! Xx

Jen Walshaw said...

My fav scented candle in the whole world

Julia said...

Sounds like the perfect girls night!! I am always up for a nice glass of wine and the candlelight is beautiful!

Gillian said...

I heard a lot about that book on the radio last year and was really intrigued by it. We were going to read it but it was still in hardback at the time, and we always wait till books are out in paperback as it's cheaper! Thanks for reminding me though, as I want to read it and I know it'll provoke some good discussion!

Gillian said...

I've had that candle for years and it still smells amazing, even unlit.

Gillian said...

It's lovely, I am making it last for as long as possible!

Gillian said...

There isn't usually candlelight but there is always lots of wine! (Sometimes a little too much).

mags said...

Envious .. my book club folded and I'd love to join a new one. If you haven't read The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society I really enjoyed it. Not my usual book and I felt I learnt something I knew nothing about i.e. what both those in Guernsey and their captors went though. Funny as well as touching.

Gillian said...

We read that last year and all loved it. I knew nothing about what life on the Channel Islands was like during WW2 and found is a fascinating book, and a sweet one.

Sandra (Stamping For Pleasure) said...

I've just started reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" . . . will let you know how I get on with it. Love your candlelight photo. xxx

Gillian said...

I haven't read that one. Just looked it up on Amazon and it sounds fantastic, just the sort of thing our group would enjoy. Thanks for the tip! Our next book is The Great Gatsby, I'm really looking forward to it.

Elizabeth said...

Our book club has just had it's second meeting, we meet every three weeks at the local Oxfam book shop, we have tea and biscuits and lovely old fashioned chairs to sit in, this last meeting there were six of us so I hope it grows as it was so nice to meet like minded people and it's interesting to move out of the comfort zone when it comes to reading the next book. I just hope the book club goes from strength to strength. We've just read Romance in the Forest by Ann Radcliffe, next is The King's General by Daphne du Maurier, then it's Thomas Hardy as we are near Hardy Country....