Last Thursday a first priority for book club

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port fairy book club
Catherine Ryan, left, and Brigid Foard are among the members of The Last Thursday Book Club, in Port Fairy, that provides a place for women to enjoy stimulating conversations about books.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] W [/dropcap]hile there are infinite joys about becoming a mother, the loss of stimulating conversation or intellectual discussion can prove challenging for women who enjoyed such things before becoming a parent.

Brigid Foard, who lives in Port Fairy and teaches English at Emannuel College, Warrnambool, remembers when growing up that her mother, Sylvia Jones, was part of a local book club for about 20 years and how it became a “staple of her life”.

When Brigid had the first of her two daughters, she tried to find a similar club to meet other women who enjoyed reading and talking about books, but without success.

“I remember feeling quite envious of what Mum had, because I was unable to find anything similar,” she said.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] T [/dropcap]hat changed around September last year when two local women, Lucy Abbott and Meg Higgins, started The Last Thursday Book Club in Port Fairy. The group is aimed at women with or without children who are looking for a place to indulge their love of books.

The group now has about seven members who all meet monthly at a local cafe or restaurant and, over coffee, dessert or a glass of wine, spend a couple of hours dissecting the book that has been chosen for that month.

“I had been reading all these fantastic books, but I didn’t really have anyone to communicate my thoughts or frustrations to about what I was reading, now I have met this great group of like-minded women and we share all of our ideas,” said one member, Kelly Wynne, who has two young children and works part-time as a heritage consultant.

“It has also really broadened the types of books and authors that I  now read,” Kelly added.

Catherine Ryan, who has an infant son and also teaches English at Emmanuel College, agreed and said the group gave her an important social outlet that was not work-related, yet stimulating.

“Teaching English is working, whereas this is relaxing…it’s something I do for myself,” she said.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] A [/dropcap]s to how it works, well each member of the club gets to choose a book, which is then either bought, borrowed or shared among the members who have a month to read it.

The books chosen so far have ranged from Tim Winton’s new release, Eyrie, to the somewhat more hefty tome by Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall. Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina and the Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, The Signature of all Things, are also on the list.

“We trust each other’s tastes: there hasn’t been a bad choice so far,” laughed Brigid.

And all three women laughed as they described how their monthly Thursday night meetings had become “sacrosanct” and their respective partners – and children – had learned to accommodate the club.

“The regularity of it is really important to me,” said Brigid, “because once you become a mother, it is very easy to be defined only as a mother and to be trapped into talking about teething when, really, you might want to be talking about literature.”

“We are just really fortunate to have something like this in a rural area.”

[box type=”bio”] Bluestone Magazine will check in each month with The Last Thursday Book Club to see what they have been reading…and what they thought of it! [/box]

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2 thoughts on “Last Thursday a first priority for book club”

  1. Lots of great book groups in W’bool. Surprised to read that PF was a bit sparse. And watch out for the great Girls’ Night Out events organised by Warrnambool Books.

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