So not quite a book group today! We chatted about what we like about reading books and what we get from them. Books are great for escapism and people talked about enjoying being able to get absorbed into another world, another place, and how amazing it is that all these typed words on a page can so transport us. We can switch off from everything and not notice the time passing as we can almost experience other smells, sounds and sights and feel strong emotions for and about the characters with whom we travel for as long as it takes us to read a book!
People appreciated a well written book, and sometimes a writing style which is quite minimal and stripped back, leaving aside lavish description, focusing on the raw emotion of the characters which could make for an intensely emotional read. The group liked books about humanity, coming through adversity and finding hope. Also important is humour, and at times an easier book, when life is challenging enough sometimes its good to be able to have as someone described it; ‘chewing-gum for the eyes!’
People in the group enjoyed a mix of genres; fantasy, history, romance, inspirational biographies and learning about our deeper selves in the spirit, soul and intuitive places.
We chatted about some of our biggest learning in life that has come from a book, such as realising that you can’t change the world, but you can take action right where you are; to trust intuition; someone had seen a quote that said something like;
“Everyone behaves according to their world as they are experiencing it”.
This generated a bit of discussion about how we tell ourselves a story, in this group we are mindful that we all tell ourselves stories about what’s happening, about who we are, what’s happening to us and what other people think about us. For the most part our initial thoughts on these subjects default to the negative. However, we can learn to be aware of this and better manage our own minds and behaviours. Group members had active experiences of doing this and have managed to move themselves from very troublesome anxiety, dread and doom to taking power and control back from those destructive thoughts by noticing the thought, acknowledging the emotions but then making a decision to behave in a self-caring way. We won’t get rid of negative thought processes and it’s not as simple as thinking positive thoughts instead, but our awareness and subsequent decisions about what to do next can dramatically improve our experience of life and our mindset.
Another book which generated a bit of discussion for it’s concept was about a spy who put out a lot of propaganda during the war. Although the spy did not believe it himself or agree with it, he had to do this to maintain his role. However the propaganda he disseminated caused a lot of destruction and incited hurt to many people. So the discussion ensued that values and beliefs are very important but mean nothing if our actions or deeds don’t follow. If we act in an opposite way, that is what is visible, not our inner beliefs.
People in the group maintained a fondness for the classics; The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice. Interestingly Enid Blyton may not have stood the test of time in the same way as only those of a particular, ahem, generation had heard of her.
Mr. Bennett of Pride and Prejudice was noted for his observational quotes:
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”-Jane Austen.