Reading is the lifeblood of the Hamilton Literacy Council. It is also the same, in varying degrees, for many people in the community. Helping to foster and nurture this love of reading are the many Book Clubs in the city. In this context, we would like to make a special mention of the Knox Book Club in Waterdown for their support and generosity to the Hamilton Literacy Council over the years.
I had always been mildly curious about ‘Book Clubs’. Loosely translated it means that while I had some interest, I was not motivated enough to research how they function, who joins them and more importantly, why?
For me, reading a book has always been an exercise to be conducted in solitude. A quiet spot in the garden, shielded by lush foliage or a comfy armchair by the fireplace would be ideal to lose oneself in a good book. However, I have seen people on a crowded bus or train, totally absorbed in the book in their hands. They must have a timer set somewhere on their person because they are able to shut their books, gather their belongings and exit at the right bus stop or train station. I should hope that it is the right stop or station otherwise, like misplaced books, we would have a lot of misplaced persons along the bus or train routes.
I finally decided to do a quick internet search on ‘Book Clubs’. Instantly, I got ’10 Best Book Clubs in Hamilton’ which led me to believe that I was only just scratching the surface and there were probably hundreds more. The Book Clubs covered a range of interests, from Human Rights to History, from Science Fiction to Feminism. The locations varied as well. Some met at the homes of their members, others at an Espresso Bar or a library. I was particularly intrigued by one particular Book Club. It was for those who were interested in reading books from or about different countries or cultures. They met in a restaurant matching the book being read, for example, a Peruvian restaurant if they were reading a book by Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa.
The primary criterion for becoming a member is, of course, a love of reading. However, according to some Book Club sites you could become a member if you wanted to socialize, liked coffee or a glass of wine, were new to town or a new mom looking for a night out (rather specific, that). If I was the aforementioned new mom, I would like to spend the night at a luxury hotel, lock the door and sleep for the entire duration for which I had paid.
At the Hamilton Literacy Council we sometimes have a Reading Circle for our students. The idea is to assist them with their reading and comprehension skills in an informal and relaxed setting. At times, the reading leads to discussions and the students are able to express their thoughts and ideas in English. There is a lot of laughter and I have always come away with a feeling of awe at the depth of insight which the students were able to convey with their limited English vocabulary. I would sign up for membership of this Book Club any day.
“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”
Sam Goldwyn (1879 – 1974) was an independent producer of films in Hollywood. Among the many films he produced, eight were Best Picture nominees and ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (1946) did win the Oscar. One of his legacies was ‘Leo the Lion’ which was adopted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Sam Goldwyn was also known for his relentless ambition and genius for publicity. He was also well known for his sayings or Goldwynisms characterized by unintentional wit when he tried to comment on certain situations. His Goldwynisms are the reason he earns a place on our Blog.
“Colour television! Bah! I won’t believe it until I see it in black and white”
“I read part of it all the way through”
“I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after he’s dead”
“Our comedies are not be laughed at”