I did a thing – I went to a real-life book club. I have not strayed too far from my comfort zone, as it is a ‘Book and Pudding Club’, which was the brainchild of the wonderful Jenna, who hosts the fantastic online book club I attend. But, for me, this was a big step, as throughout most of 2023 leaving my comfort zone has not been easy for many reasons – but this was something that I was determined to do, so I did.
The first book I have read for it (as I was unable to attend the second meeting) is ‘The Lost Bookshop’ by Evie Woods. This is not a book that I had heard of, so I was looking forward to picking it up. I mean which book lover does not like the sound of a book with the word ‘bookshop’ in its title? It simply tells you straight away that it is probably going to contain a story fit for a book lover.
This was a lovely book as, at its heart, it demonstrates the real comfort that a love of books can bring in some of the most difficult times. And, with its sprinkling of magical realism, it really took you on an adventure. Told from the viewpoint of each of our main characters with the narrative switching between them, Opaline’s voice comes from the past as we find out the importance books had in her life and how she has a connection to ‘The Lost Bookshop’ and in the present we have Martha and Henry who are thrown together by Henry’s desire to find a missing Bronte manuscript and find out more about ‘The Lost Bookshop’ and in turn finding out more about the connections to Opaline. Now, I absolutely cannot share spoilers to this book because it is just a fantastic read with a fair bit of mystery amongst its pages, so I do not want to spoil any of the reveals to anyone. But, I would really encourage book lovers to read this book because it simply brought me so much joy – and you will enjoy the mentions of some classics along the way. It certainly made me reflect on why it is I find books such a joy to read and the escapism they often offer me.
And, this is a thank you to book clubs, because one thing I have certainly learnt is that they bring me to books that I would otherwise have probably have missed – and this gem is one that I am pretty sure I would have missed without a bookish community.
So, this post is not just about books but it is also about book clubs and the community they can bring you to. I really encourage you to find a book club if it is something that you have always considered doing because it may bring joy – and we should all do things that bring us joy.