The Yeovil Community Arts Association (YCAA) Book Group meets at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil every month with two books to discuss, to debate, often to disagree and generally give each chosen book a good airing amongst a group of people with a spread of ages.
I have been going to this group for eighteen months and wish I had for longer. I doubt I would have read any of the books discussed, but for the group. It has taken me out of my zone of choice and introduced many good writers that I would have passed by and will now seek out again, and a few I won’t.
The group met earlier this week in the wake of the Man Booker competition where everyone made their own choice of shortlisted book to read and present. This after the YCAA ‘Man Booker Debate’ the week before where a six person panel, drawn from writers, academics and, on this occasion, the local MP, had each been given to read and champion one of the short listed books.
The Man Booker short list was:
A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marion James, A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara, A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler, Satin Island – Tom McCarthy, The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma, and The Year of the Runaways – Sunjeeve Sahota
During the Book Group discussion A Little Life, A Spool of Blue Thread and The Year of the Runaways were all well supported and thought to have opened a window onto lives led in unexpected, but real circumstance. There was support round the table for any of these three to have won the prize.
By strange chance none of the Book Group had chosen to read A Brief History of Seven Killings, the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize.