When I was writing This One Wild and Precious Life, I held a bunch of discussion groups with people I met out and about. These people – mostly strangers – wanted to chat about “what’s going on with life”, so I invited them to various get-togethers, usually over some wine and cheese, to talk through climate, Covid-19, kids’ anxiety, our collective anxiety, political fragmentation, racism… the whole painful lot.
I essentially asked them to help me flesh out the issues, tell me where the pain points where, share what was overwhelming them, so I could best find a path back to the wild and precious life we love so much.
Anyway, these discussion groups were super fun, and a big thread I tease out in the book is that much of our pain and despair stems from the fact we don’t talk together about complex issues. We sweep them aside, we scroll, we shop…and thus the loneliness and anxiety mounts. I also argue that holding an “adda” (a West Bengalese tradition of holding large, deep and communal conversations accompanied by tea), or salon, is a great technique for reconnecting with life. In the book I then commit to extending the “conversation” out into the world.
There are a few ways I’ll be doing this. One such, is a giant, bookclub program that I hope will spread around the world. The aim is to assist everyone (you guys!) in getting together to discuss the big, overwhelming, despairing stuff – using Wild and Precious as the pivot point – so that we can all feel less overwhelmed, anxious and despairing.
You can download the Bookclub Reading Guide here.
I’m kicking off the whole Bookclub concept with Lucy, a wonderful book blogger, at Gertrude and Alice in Bondi. You can buy tickets here. And attend IRL or via Zoom. The entirety of this ticket’s proceeds will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF). If you’re thinking of holding your own bookclub, it might be a great way to get some inspo!
How you can hold a Wild and Precious Bookclub or “adda”
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it light and fun. Then dive in deep.
- Send out an invite to a bunch of friends or colleagues – 5-10 is a great number – and suggest holding a book club, using my book as a pivot point to discuss the climate, the fear and overwhelm we feel, everything that matters now.
- Set the date for a month away and invite everyone to read the book.
- Feel free to send them this link, which is offering 25 percent off. Or steer them to a local library that stocks the book.
- Choose a venue that’s comfortable and Covid-friendly. You might want to set it up on a video conference set-up.
- Allow two hours.
- You might like to add a layer of lushness – supply tea or a bottle of wine (or invite everyone to join the video conference with their favourite beverage). Make an event of it.
- On the day or night, or via email just prior, send out this Bookclub Reading Guide to everyone and then use it to steer the conversation. It’s a guide only.
- You might like to kick off with my simple pointers listed at the top of the sheet. And to tune into the Gertrude and Alice event to get ideas.
Join a Bookstagrammer tour
Throughout October 2020 I will be holding an Instagram Book Tour with five Australian and NZ Bookstagrammers.
I will join these virtual bookclubs, spread across the month of October, and will bepromoting them via a Tour Poster tile on Instagram. You’d be most welcome to join one or all of them.
PS If you’re a Bookstagrammer and would like to be one of the hosts, please email [email protected]
Get the Wild and Precious BookClub Guide here.
As I say, it’s a neat little pdf that looks a little something like this, below. You can download it here.