Our CEO Andrew Campbell reflects on some key lessons he’s learned in 2020 about engaging Lingo24’s…
When it comes to relaxation, a recipe approved by most Lingo-ists will definitely include a good book. Looking for inspiration for the 2019 reading list?
We asked our colleague Dana Stoica, book lover extraordinaire and probably one of the few people known to have powered through the entire Dragonlance series, to give us some pointers from her Lingo24 Book Club experience.
But first things first – how did the Lingo24 Book Club come about?
With so many book lovers in Lingo, it was only natural to have one. The first attempt was in 2007, with a group called “The Fair Ladies”, who met once a month to discuss their latest reads. After a period of inactivity, the group became the official Lingo24 Book Club in 2015; since then meetings have been quite consistent, if not exactly regular. We managed to go through 25 books in this time, at a pace of about 7 books a year.
Where do these meetings usually take place?
There have been a few meeting places in the Club’s 11 years of history. We’ve recently discovered Naru Café – a chic, quiet place, with delicious food and drinks.
How does a Book Club meeting usually go?
I insist on people being relaxed about what they think they know about Book Clubs and how they work. I enjoy the company of my colleagues and love talking about books, so I want people to feel as relaxed and as unstressed as possible.
And while I would usually prepare a list of questions, subjectivity is encouraged, especially since the most important question I always ask is “Did you like the book?”. This can sometimes be answered in a minute, or it might provoke hours of discussion between divergent opinions.
We don’t get too hung up on literary terms, so we don’t necessarily apply academic knowledge and language in these meetings, but rather we pass judgment (a lot) on the characters and their choices and actions, on the plot and especially on the writing. We have very different reading styles and different personalities, not to mention different preferences in our literary genres, so this makes for a healthy conversation.
What are the Book Club’s favourite books? Can you give us some reading recommendations?
- “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes was the first one we read, and it was a life changing experience as a read.
- “Time’s Arrow” by Martin Amis is a personal favourite one, as it has a unique technique where everything happens in reverse, and this lead us to another book that was about time travel.
- “The Colour of Magic” by Terry Pratchett was particularly colourful, as Terry Pratchett is a quite unique writer himself.
- “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch is one I would love to see turned into a movie one day. You wouldn’t think reading about quantum physics can be so enjoyable when you know very little about it, but this book made it so accessible.
- Of course, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood had to be on our list, so we had a particularly interesting conversation about that, where we both imagined the dystopian world the writer depicts, and shared knowledge we had on either countries we visited or read about. Realising that we don’t live in either those times or those countries was a definite relief in the end!
Any books we should avoid?
The whole group agreed that “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger could have been better, and we particularly struggled with “When the Elephants Dance” by Tess Uriza Holthe because of its heavy style and subject matter.
Where can we find out more about the Club?
We have a Goodreads account where you can see all the books we have been reading and what else we are up to. There is also a dedicated blog where I usually post the photos and discussion questions, and a Facebook group those who work for Lingo24 can join and keep up to date with our reading list.
*Photo credits: Jaredd Craig / Unsplash.com