Penguin Readers’ Group of the Month


We featured as group of the month several years ago.  Included in our piece for the website was a photo of the original group which you can see on our front page.  This is what they published:

During 2002 the village had put a great deal of effort into renovating, extending and decorating our small village hall. The motivation to form the book group, apart from bringing together those in the village interested in books, was to find ways of using the village hall on a regular basis to help fund its upkeep.

The Covington Book Group held its inaugural meeting in March 2003, in the home of one of our members.  A small nucleus attended this meeting where we discussed such matters as charging a subscription for the rental of the hall, what types of books we would like to read and the use of Cambridgeshire Library Service to supply us with reading material. Of course, we also brought along books we had enjoyed to share with the group.

From then onwards we have met in our village hall on the first Monday of every month with a summer break each August. Our membership has been as high as 12 and attendance averages about 9 per meeting. You will see from our photo that we have an attractive open fire of which we make good use during the winter months. We take it in turns to supply light snacks and drink wine or juice sold by the glass with profits going into our fund. Since we budgeted the subscription to fund letting fees at a membership of 10, we are gradually accumulating a small fund, most of which we will probably spend on a special gift for the village hall as well as an event or excursion for the group.

We regularly invite villagers to join the club emphasising that it is not necessary to be an avid or experienced reader to become a member.  In fact, we have a few self-confessed non-readers in the group who just enjoy the social interaction of the group! 

The library service provides us with enough copies of each of two books to take away to read from every meeting.  We have opted for two titles each time to make it easier for the library to supply sufficient copies and to cater for differing reading tastes within the group.  Also, we tend to avoid choosing the ‘latest’ book award winners since they are in heavy demand from the library.

Well, what have we been reading and what has most caught our fancy? 

The Siege by Helen Dunmore
Blue Poppies by Jonathan Falla
Cold Mountain by Charles Frasier
The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Absolute Friends by John le Carré
Homestead by Rosina Lippi
The Life of Pi by Yann Martell
Dancer by Colin McCann
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie McDonald
Temples of Delight by Barbara Trapido
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
The Colour by Rose Tremain
The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor
Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson

Particular favourites have been The Siege, Blue Poppies, Cold Mountain, Poisonwood Bible and Music and Silence. Due to the urging of one of our members we have also turned to Charles Dickens and have so far read Nicholas Nickleby and A Tale of Two Cities

One benefit of have two titles on offer has been that we find at a meeting where there is a unanimously positive review of a book, those who have not read it ask to borrow and read for the next meeting. Thank goodness the library service is so generous in renewing books!

Our meetings are very informal and relaxing. Many good discussions on books and related matters ensue. We regularly review what books we might request from the library. Recently we had a number of proposed books on display and members were given browsing time and the opportunity to rank the books for selection. 

We also make good use of the publication Fiction Matters from the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in which books have been nominated by libraries across the world.

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