One of the things I wanted to do in the year I turned 30 was join my very first book club. Instead, I started one. The purpose of wanting to join a book club is often to make new friends, especially when you’re new to an area and looking for new social activities. However, that wasn’t really my reason; I was driven by wanting to read more and chat about what I was reading with people I like. I also wanted to read with a group of people I knew would spur me on when I was being lazy. So now a group of us from work get together once every six weeks; we take it in turns to ‘host’ the group and it’s the responsibility of the host to choose the book and the venue, and then we rotate.
I kicked things off with The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, and we met at the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham.
I really loved this book, and I read it in two days which is pretty impressive for a slow reader like me. The book is about a 19 year old with schizophrenia and follows his life and, more importantly, his grief after the loss of his brother. Filer wrote the book in between his shifts whilst working as a psychiatric nurse, and the detail he gives to the hospital and care paints a harrowing picture. It was an easy read, accessible but still insightful. Not everyone in my group agreed; some grew tired of the day-to-day observation and were waiting for a ‘dramatic moment’, but I loved witnessing the ‘normal’ life of someone who had experienced something so immensely ‘abnormal’.
The relationships explored and the many emotions experienced took me on a hectic journey that I truly enjoyed. Every time I pick up a book I hope that I’ll be conflicted between racing to finish it and wanting to stop it from ending. The Shock of the Fall was the first book to do that to me in quite some time.
Next at book club – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.