A 20-year bookmark

Members at the Meeting of the  Longest Running  Book Club in Sheffield .
Members at the Meeting of the Longest Running Book Club in Sheffield .

A SHEFFIELD book group has reached a notable chapter – its 20th anniversary.

Women have been meeting every month at a member’s home to discuss a publication of their choosing and they believe they could may well be the longest running group of its kind in the city.

More than 200 books have been digested over the 20 years – before tea and cake.

“We have met for 20 years continuously, although we always have August off for holidays,” said founder member Debra Tuckett, who held the first meeting at her house in Fulwood.

“Occasionally we have two books, sometimes it’s a couple of short plays. We have poetry and short stories, and the occasional biography, but mostly we read fiction.

“We read such a variety of books. We have read books we would never have read if it wasn’t for the book group. We ended up reading a cowboy novel set in the 1850s and it was brilliant. We all remember it. We wouldn’t have read it if somebody hadn’t recommended it. The group has given us a much wider experience.”

Debra, aged 56, who works with autistic children, was a founder member with Corryine Osborne, who also lives in Fulwood.

“Twenty years ago I was doing A-level English literature at night school and I thought it would be good to get together with other women to form a book group to read a book and to discuss it. I asked four friends to bring a friend each.”

Debra chose the first book, Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison. “We had a really good discussion, and enjoyed it a lot, and decided that we wanted to carry on.”

Numbers of members fluctuate, and there are nine at the moment, mainly from the south-west of Sheffield. They meet on the first Monday of the month.

One of the keys to the success of the group is an annual planning meeting, in September, at which members bring along their suggestions. The programme is set for the year ahead, so everybody knows what is coming up and when.

“Although I started the group, I have never been the leader. It has been a co-operative thing and democratic. There is no hierachy.”

Debra added: “I’m really proud of the book group. We have kept going all these years and hopefully it will keep going. Everybody looks forward to it every month. It’s social, but we enjoy talking about the book. When we have the planning meeting we all get very excited.”

Debra can be contacted on dgtuckett@hotmail.co.uk.

The group’s favourite books over 20 years:

Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

Small Island by Andrea Levy

The Travelling Hornplayer by Barbara Trapido

The Siege by Helen Dunmore

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver (short stories)