Reading Group News - September Edition

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Cambridgeshire County Council
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September 2022

Cambridgeshire Libraries

Reading Groups

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Reading Group News

Autumnal leaves with an open book.

Welcome to the first anniversary edition of the quarterly Cambridgeshire Libraries Reading Group News!

This eNewsletter is automatically sent to each group’s main contact person, and we thank you for forwarding it to your members. Individual members can also sign up to receive the news directly by clicking on the Join Our Mailing List button at the top of this page, or via our webpage: Reading groups - Cambridgeshire County Council

National Reading Group Day

National Reading Group Day - illustration of two people reading leaning against a stack of books.

It’s a perfect time of year to celebrate your group and all the books you read and talk about together – 28th September is National Reading Group Day! If you benefit from belonging to a reading group, why not spread the joy and invite someone new along to your meeting this month? Or you could encourage friends to start a new group. Your local library will be happy to help with this – there is information online, or drop in and speak to staff. Take a look at The Reading Agency for more ways to celebrate and enhance your group’s reading adventures.

Reading Group subscription – what does it cover?

A figure sitting on a pile of coins while reading a book.

As current reading group members will be aware, we charge a £35 annual fee, so what are the benefits of being a reading group member?

  • Reading groups can borrow items for six weeks rather than three, giving members longer to read before they need to return or renew.
  • Reading groups can place up to twelve reservations a month.
  • Library staff will order your books as a set, for you to then collect.
  • Library staff can provide advice and guidance about the availability of titles, or suggest titles, new authors, and genres for your group.
  • Library staff can search for and recommend alternative formats for a title – Large Print, Spoken Word CDs, eBook or eAudiobooks.
  • You receive a quarterly newsletter, full of information just for reading groups.
  • Libraries can offer spaces for your group to meet up.

The annual fee enables us to keep reinvesting in buying new reading group sets, ensuring that we have enough copies, and that the collection remains current and of good quality. It also contributes to the cost of transporting the books around the county for you to collect from your chosen library.

We hope you’ll agree, the reading group subscription is great value!

Reading Group Voices

Book covers for Gustav Sonate, Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Poisonwood Bible as read by Abbeyfield book group.

Abbeyfield Book Club, Girton Green By Jillinda Tiley & Helen Wickam

Our group started in 2016/17 in the Abbeyfield independent living complex. To incorporate this community into the village of Girton, the complex offers communal areas and activities to outside visitors - I am one of these. I learnt a lot of my bridge from the bridge club before Covid! We were asked to think of other activities the residents might enjoy and I suggested a book club. So we began!

Apart from me, members are Abbeyfield residents, usually between 6 and 10, meeting monthly.

As most residents have had to downsize and prune their existing libraries, it is a bonus to be able to borrow books from the public library. There are few books which everyone has enjoyed - but tastes differ! Most enjoyed:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – wonderful writing and a theme many of us shared.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – good for discussion and full of insight.

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain – carefully crafted and meaningful to a pensioner generation.

Alexander McCall Smith is also popular. We have some ex-Edinburgh residents and some with experience of East Africa.

Being in the group allows us – and new residents - to socialise, share experiences and sharpen our critical faculties!

The choice of book depends on availability. If the book is really not liked it is sometimes left unfinished, but nobody minds, there are no sanctions! The size of book and print size are important - too big or too heavy are not helpful! Since joining I’ve read many books I had never heard of, and enjoyed most. Listening to others’ comments, I have usually come away with new insight.

Reading Ideas

Celebrate diversity with your next reading group title , image of book covers mentioned in text.

Celebrate diversity with your next book choice.

Through books and reading we can celebrate our differences, develop empathy and an understanding of different human emotions and experiences. Books have a way of drawing readers into the lives and worlds of characters which may be different from our own, reflecting more than just one world view.

Why not think about celebrating diversity when picking your next title. We have lots of reading group sets you could choose from, such as:

  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
  • The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Queenie by Candice Carty Williams
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • Sugar by Bernice McFadden
  • How to by Both by Ali Smith

Just to name a few!

Using eBooks and eAudiobooks on Borrow Box with your Reading Group

Our Cambridgeshire Reads and Cambridgeshire Listens for October will all be available on the BorrowBox app and website from the 1st October until 29th November! These titles all have 500 or 1,000 simultaneous loans – so your whole reading group can read or listen at the same time.

Cambridgeshire Libraries - BorrowBox

Some of September’s titles available as both eBook and eAudiobook are:

October Borrow Box Campaign Titles

We also have lots of new eBooks and eAudiobooks added to BorrowBox every month, available to one person at a time. You can: browse a list of new releases; search for a title or author; filter your search by genre and age group; reserve titles; and more!

New eBook and eAudiobook titles on Borrow Box.

Together We Read - Image of an iPad with the front cover of the book How To Kill Your Family showing.

Together We Read on OverDrive and Libby - 6th - 20th October

Join thousands of readers across the UK in this year’s Together We Read: UK digital book club. From 6-20 October, Cambridgeshire Library users can enjoy Bella Mackie’s How to Kill Your Family for free as an ebook and audiobook by downloading the Libby app or visiting the OverDrive library catalogue.

How to Kill Your Family - Grace Bernard vows revenge when she discovers her absentee millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s pleas for help and sets about to kill every member of his family. But then Grace is imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit. Readers have a front row seat as Grace picks off the family one by one – and the result is as gruesome as it is entertaining in this wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.

Book Chat

Man looking in a rear-view mirror while driving a car.

Books are often described as being mirrors or windows – they may help you to reflect upon your own life from a different perspective or enable you to view and gain insight into the lives and experiences of others.

Thinking of books your group has read together, which were the mirrors? Which were the windows? Have some been both?

Please get in touch!

We’d love to hear your group’s stories and recommendations, and to know what else you’d like to see in this newsletter. You can email us at (please mention Reading Groups in the subject line) or send us a message via our Facebook page.

Look out for the next edition of Cambridgeshire Libraries Reading Group News in the winter.