Christchurch City Libraries hosts a range of book clubs and reading groups - from Spanish Book Club, to Dewey Book Group. They are the ideal way to not only meet new people, but also share ideas, experiences, and a love for literature.
The highlight of my month would have to be going along to the book groups I attend - Dewey Book Group, and ESOL Book Group. My book group families always make me feel welcomed, inspired, and excited to share our latest reading adventures and discoveries.
If I had to pick my favourite book group story, it would have to be that of Jane and Giorgio - two much loved members of our ESOL book group. No plot spoilers here (as Jane has wonderfully retold their story below), but let’s just say they have set the bar very high for book group experiences. Thank you so much Jane and Giorgio for sharing your beautiful story.
Jane’s Book Group Story
For three years now, I have been helping Helen at the local library mentor a Book Group. We get our ESOL books through the Book Discussion Scheme, and we meet in the library.
For a while we met at the Peterborough Street library - men and women of all ages, from Japan, Brazil, Kazakhstan, China, South Korea, Hungary and Italy, and on occasions from other countries as well.
We were able to enjoy comparing how birthdays were celebrated in each other’s countries, what we had for school lunches, what games we all played as children, what food or traditions were important at our various different festivals, and much more. Giorgio and I have enjoyed learning first-hand about different cultures and traditions, at the same time making lifelong friends, and reading interesting books.
When Peterborough Street library was closed the new Tūranga, central Christchurch library, had not yet opened.So Helen arranged for us to go to the Fendalton Library. It was a long way for some of our group to walk, and there were no convenient buses. As I drove by car, I offered to pick up and take the affected members of our group. One day, the usual passengers could not come (because it was school holidays) so Giorgio, our Italian member, was my only taker.
We of course chatted, and then agreed to meet at the Christchurch Art Gallery for coffee, and as one of my daughters-in-law is Italian, Giorgio offered to help me learn Italian. The rest, they say, is history!
Yes, we live together for half the week. The other half he's with his daughter and their children. We have many interests in common - language and communication, psychology, philosophy, discussing books, thoughts, experiences, and life in general.
Perhaps this is not so extraordinary, two people falling in love - but it is very surprising, unexpected and lovely when they are both in their 80s!
So you see from a seemingly unromantic series of events, romance can blossom in a Book group!