The Westminster Libraries bibliotherapy book groups certainly know how to have a good time. This week Paddington, Church Street and Queen’s Park ‘Share a Book’ groups went for crackers and mince pies, impromptu choral renditions of Christmas rhymes seasoned with a lone piece of Shavian humbug on the horrors of Yuletide.
Paddington Share a Book group have almost finished reading Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham. It took a little while for some members of the group to warm to this thinly disguised portrait of one of our greatest novelists; now we are all hooked however and enjoying every word.
Church Street and Queen’s Park ‘Share a Book’ have been reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and although quite a few member of the groups remember the story from schooldays everyone is enjoying the unfolding of the story and are right there with Scrooge as he beholds sumptuous scenes of excess only to have them turn into desolate, lonely landscapes…
We have had some very interesting discussions about the nature of second chances and whether people really ever change. There have been practical considerations in that some members of the groups are learning English for the first time, so it has been a challenge for the whole group to get to grips with the language of the time and Dickens powerful imagery.
We usually leave time at the end of a read aloud group for a poem. For our Christmas special sessions we read several Christmas poems aloud: ‘Snowflakes’ by Clive Sansom, ‘A letter to St Nick’ by Alan Titchmarsh and ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ by Clement Clark Moore (otherwise known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – we read it all together by going round and round the table reading one line each – everyone threw themselves into this!). We also read George Washington’s Christmas menu aloud and ‘An Atrocious Institution’ by George Bernard Shaw.
We pulled Christmas Crackers, the presents and jokes caused much hilarity – I like this one:
What do you call a man wearing brown paper trousers?
The Paddington, Church Street and Queen’s Park Share a Book groups will start up again in the week of 14 January.