We knew it had to end one day. The demise of our book group as we know it has caused turmoil in the last few days. We knew our wonderful facilitator could not continue for ever, and the bookshop who hosted us has costs to consider.
We have begun emailing each other to keep in touch. Yesterday, one participant shared our reading list dating from 2002 when she joined the group (it has been running since the 1990s). Wow. All those books – the diversity in scope, genre, culture and style. They challenged us and widened our view of the world. They also opened discussion which deepened our understanding of ourselves and each other, particularly as we shared the reading we had been doing apart from the chosen book. Sometimes, authors came to our meetings and we attended book events and even movies based on books we had read.
Our meetings have been a steadfast point through earthquakes necessitating changes of venue, a pandemic which meant we communicated online, and the ups and downs of our own lives. We have welcomed new members and others have drifted away. We are a diverse group, with a shared love of books and reading.
So, the change is hard.
All is not lost, however. There is the new format to participate in if we choose. There will be the connection which books provide, a continuing curiosity about the world and how it is represented, and a love of reading to sustain us.