Just like the cleverly crafted Motherhood rap from Fiat, I joined my book club ‘just so I could drink some wine’. Years later the company remains excellent but it’s less about the wine and more about our shared love of books, unpacking our interpretations of various texts, meeting favourite authors and discovering some truly wonderful novels I’d never have picked up on my own.
Not in a club yet?
Many local book stores, writers’ centres and libraries run groups that you can join. If you’re in Sydney there are plenty to choose from, try Newtown institution Better Read Than Dead or Read3r’s ReVue (you’ve not lived until you’ve participated in one of their book shop crawls) and the NSW Writers’ Centre also hosts the Writers Book Club for members .
If you’d prefer to participate from the comfort of your own home, there are online discussion groups too. Goodreads have thousands (including Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf) and the Stella Prize Shortlist Book Club will be run again in 2017.
Alternatively you can simply grab some friends and get reading! Book clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Some publishers such as Text Publishing, Simon and Schuster and Allen and Unwin have dedicated book club resources on their websites and if there is an author event near you, perhaps take the club along for a fun night out.
Choosing your 2017 book list
There is certainly no shortage of excellent books in the world but if you’re looking for inspiration for your 2017 book list, consider supporting Australia’s many talented writers.
The Stella Prize makes celebrating Australian women’s writing easy with book club notes available for nearly twenty novels from their 2015 and 2016 longlists. If you’re in Sydney on Tuesday 7 February 2017, you can get a head start by joining the 2016 winner Charlotte Wood at the Giant Dwarf Theatre for the announcement of the 2017 longlist. The early bird tickets are only $25 and the evening will be hosted by Julia Zemiro and will include playwright and star of Black Comedy Nakkiah Lui and Stella Prize judges Delia Falconer and Ben Law.