30-12-2023, Ellecom.

The very first edition! I’m still amazed by the positive response and thrilled to think back to a wondrous evening with such a lovely group of people. For the essay I wrote based on this session, see The Uncrossable River: the Forces and Choices of Loneliness.

If you’re interested in joining next time, you can sign up for the mailing list, join the Signal group or let me know you want to join this session via this form. I’d love to hear from you.

Theme 1: Family and Loneliness

The theme for the first book club is Family and Loneliness, perfectly suitable for the dark nights between Christmas and the New Year, when people may feel a confusing mix of feelings spending time alone or with people. Most people will consider family as the opposite to loneliness, but many will also be familiar with the particular isolation one can feel around those closest to you. Is there an inherent divide between end-of-year reflection and expected family quality time? Why and how can people feel so lonely in this time of shared meals and celebration? Let’s explore some of the nuances of proximity and isolation around the holidays.

Required reading: none!

Short read: “Widows” by Margaret Atwood. (can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/feb/25/widows-by-margaret-atwood-read-the-exclusive-short-story)

Longer read: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Extra reading: Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, Slapstick, or Lonesome No More by Kurt Vonnegut, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.