What you say

"I first heard about the book club through someone who is involved in other workshops and projects at OTR. I joined because attending a book club has been something I’ve always wanted to do and reading is something I am passionate and excited about and I also wanted to use this opportunity to meet new people with similar interests as my own.

My first experience of the group was really positive. I was quite nervous to go initially as I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt very comfortable as everyone was really welcoming. There was a good mix of conversation, questions and also there was time to listen. I came back as I enjoyed the process of reading the book and coming back to the following meet up to have a space where I can share my views and feelings regarding the book and also hear and have a discussion with other attendees. This process I really enjoy as it is a good structure for me to have and it is something to look forward to each month.

I like that the group is a very inclusive space and everyone’s views and conversations are welcome and encouraged. I like that there is a structure to the meetings but also random sparks of conversations are encouraged. I like that if there is a difference in views they are both equally heard, and I also really enjoy how friendly and fun the meetings always are.

I think the group has definitely supported my wellbeing. To be able to attend something where I can fully be myself and share my feelings and views and have nothing but support in return has been very helpful and beneficial to me. Attending the group has encouraged me to do more of the things I am passionate about such as starting my own book review blog which I wouldn’t have done without book club. There is also the element of financial support as the books are bought and given to attendee which is very helpful. I also love discovering new books by hearing about what everyone attending is interested in through the poll voting system which works very well in deciding the next month’s book club choice.

I think I bring a bit of listening and sharing my thoughts - I do really enjoy what comes out of hearing various views of the book as they are all different and allow me to gain a new perspective on what the story may mean to me and everyone else. I also like to share my own views too seeing if that brings something new to the view of the book and I do tend to also have questions on various moments in the book and love to hear everyone’s responses and takes.

To someone who hasn’t been to the group yet, I would describe it as a welcoming, friendly environment that lets you use the space to share your thoughts and views on a book that was voted for on a monthly poll. The book club encourages people to attend who have and haven’t read the book to have interesting discussions around the book in a really friendly chilled way. There is absolutely no pressure to have read the book or have anything planned to say. It is a fun relaxed place to have lovely chats and actually a great place to meet new people.

I have found OTR's book club so helpful in giving me confidence in areas of meeting new people and sharing my views and opinions which I have found difficult previously. It is also really fun and has relit my passion around reading and I’m excited to attend the next meeting".