Today’s blog is from Lauren.
Mitchell Classics Book Group – Blog for Friday, January 13, 2012
Hi, I’m Lauren, and I’m the discussion leader for the Mitchell Classics Book Group. Our group meets once a month on the first Monday of the month (barring any bank holidays) from 6-7:30pm at the Mitchell Library. We read almost exclusively the Classics, which includes Modern Classics, and this year will extend to include the Ancient Classics.
In the posthumously published collection of Italo Calvino’s essays of literary criticism, ‘Why Read the Classics?’, Calvino gives us fourteen different definitions of a classic. For me, any one of these definitions would explain my own love of this contentiously defined literary genre, but perhaps one of the most oft quoted definitions of his really strikes home: ‘a classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say’. As this succinctly captures my ardour for them, I thought that surely there must be others out there that share this love. Thus, in 2006, the Mitchell Classics Book Group was born.
As a group, I believe we are a Classic ourselves, with members of all different ages, backgrounds, upbringings and even different nationalities, and everyone brings their own experiences and personal histories into the discussions. In the reading, or rereading, (for as Calvino has said, ‘every reading of a classic is in fact a rereading’), and the re-examination of these books we add further depth to our own interpretation and understanding of them, but also to that of each other. (Did I mention we have a good ol’ knees-up now and again, just in case you thinking we’re the stuffy, old-fashioned group that never gets out?).
At the close of last year, we were invited to enter a competition sponsored by The Reading Agency. Their website, Reading Groups for Everyone, aims to promote, encourage and celebrate book, reading and writing groups. 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. To celebrate, The Reading Agency held a competition to find ten reading groups from across the UK that would act as their ‘Dickens Champions’. Upon selection, these groups would take part in a Readathon over the course of 2012, reading, reviewing and then blogging their thoughts on five selected books by Charles Dickens for their website. In addition, these groups would follow any Dickens adaptations on television and radio, and submit their reviews of them. Finally, they would be asked to report on any Dickens activities happening in their community. I have the very happy news to report that the Mitchell Classics Book Group has been selected to be one of the 2012 Dickens Champions – hurrah!
Over the course of 2012, we will be posting all our Dickens reviews on the Reading Groups for Everyone website. We hope that you will also follow along with us over the next few months as we check out the newest Dickens adaptations on radio and television, and the Dickens-related activities in and around Glasgow – it should be a fun and challenging project!