The 1970s was the theme for this month’s meeting of Jane Ritchie’s book group. A few got dressed up in 70s’ hippie chic to glam punk.
We celebrated the brown and orange look, flares and head bands. Afternoon tea followed the theme with all the snacks coming on toothpicks – devils on horseback, cheese with pineapple, nuts etc.
Seventies’ classics discussed included Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s The Scarecrow, Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room, A Breed of Women by Fiona Kidman, Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and colourful local histories. Talking about The Female Eunuch, Jane remembered attending the famous 1972 lecture in the Auckland Town Hall where Germaine Greer surprised everyone by saying “bullshit”.
The book group started about eight years ago, adopting a specific theme every second month and alternating with free choice. Other themes have included NZ authors, cooking, biographies, childhood favourites and South American authors or topics. Meeting at members’ homes or the Old School we each talk about two to three books we’ve read, including whether we’d recommend the writer/book or not. There are a wide range of tastes in the group so we hear and talk about a variety of books (fact, fiction, fantasy and fun) with respect and laughter.
A recent attempt at rediscovering the Classics had some surprising results. Some just found them too outdated and dense to read while others preferred the originals to the modern retellings. Like the 70s we like having freedom of choice – appreciating suggestions while not having to read a set book. There are plenty of books to go around – let’s just encourage as much reading as we can. You won’t find us reading books online. “Books are Not Dead. Long live the Book!”
With thanks to the Raglan Library, In my Good Books, the Hamilton Library, the Raglan Old School Arts Centre and our patient (or not) partners and friends.