I have always loved to read. Fortunately for me, I had the privilege of going to Sakeji School from grades one to five, which ensured that I not only had access to an abundance of quality children's literature, but I was also encouraged to read age appropriate books and submit a book report at the end of the week. My parents also love the written word and I am forever grateful that they invested in reading material for their children from the time I was born. This means that books are highly respected in our family. You will not find torn or defaced titles lying idly on the floor or propping up a table leg in my parents home, in my home or my sister's home. My brothers are yet to become independent, but I am certain it will be the same in their homes too.
I started the book club in 2005 by placing an advert in the Lowdown. It began life as Jane Austen book club, since I am a great fan of hers. Coincidentally, around about the same time, a book entitled, The Jane Austen Book Club was also released. Many people thought that this was where the idea came from, but they don't know that book clubs have been around for decades if not longer.
Since Jane Austen only wrote six books, we soon moved on to other titles mainly classics. However, over the years we found our feet and began to read more contemporary titles. Over the last two years, I have been privileged to read books by authors I would not otherwise have come across.
The book club is made up of primarily women. We got our first guy in 2009, he left after a few months for further studies abroad, then in mid 2010, we received three new members (one guy and our first married to each other couple). It has been great to have a male perspective in many of our discussions.
Most of the members are Zambian, but we have a considerable number of expatriates too. This has been great learning and exposure, especially as the books we read are set in many different countries and cultures and written by men and women of differing ages and backgrounds in widley different generations or centuries.
Over the years, the best discussions have been on the following books:
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fiela's Child by Dalene Mathee
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
It is not surprising that most of these have been books by African authors set in Africa. One is by an Indian author set in India, an Australian author (of German/Austrian descent) set in Nazi Germany. The last book is a classic of 19th century English literature.
We have 12 titles chosen for 2011. On account of alphabetical order, my choice will be the last title we read in 2011. It is a book entitled, We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I chose it because I think it will be a great discussion and the subject matter os possible every woman's nightmare. We Need to Talk About Kevin is about a fictional school massacre and is written from the perspective of the killer's mother, Eva Khatchadourian, and documents her attempt to come to terms with her son Kevin and the murders he committed.
You can join the Lusaka Book Club group on facebook
Membership is open to anyone who loves to read great books. The Lusaka Book Club only reads literary fiction. This means we do not read books by authors such as Dan Brown, John Grisham, Jackie Collins, Robert Ludlum, Sydney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts etc. This also means that we do not read motivational or business books, neither do we read poetry, plays or biographies. For more information, check The Lowdown magazine or email: email@example.com.