Posted by: billpurdue | March 5, 2009

45 Reading in Forest Town

The Forest Town Library Book Group

The Forest Town Library Book Group

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable hour and a half in the company of the book group which meets every month at Forest Town Library. The meeting was chaired by Area Librarian Steve Powell, who is moving to Retford Library at the end of March as part of sweeping staff changes affecting all Nottinghamshire libraries. I say “chaired”, but this sounds too formal: the atmosphere was very informal and very friendly. Steve welcomed us all with cups of tea or coffee and even offered some cakes.

brave-new-worldThe book under discussion was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley [Vintage Classics £7.99 9780099518471: other editions are available], a classic of early twentieth century science fiction. Many of the group members had read it before, often as part of their English literature studies. Their reactions to it on re-reading were quite different, but most still found it disturbing and quite prophetic, in some cases accurately prophetic. The action takes place way into the future in a supposedly ideal society where life is perfect, thanks to genetic engineering and brainwashing. However one man, Bernard Marx has misgivings and decides to visit a “savage reservation” where life in the old imperfect style still exists.

The group members said it was difficult to identify with the characters and one remarked that it was necessary to have a dictionary handy when reading it. In spite of the action being set far ahead in the future, some of the old fashioned attitudes prevailing at the time it was first published still came through in the book – the attitude towards women for example (who had not had the vote for very long).

Brave New World was compared to George Orwell’s Animal Farm (“much more readable and more of a plot”), Thomas More’s Utopia, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell [Sceptre £7.99 9780340822784], the film Logan’s Run and a short story by E M Forster called The Machine Stops. Cloud Atlas has been discussed by the book group at a previous meeting and it split opinions down the middle – must put in a request for it!

The Forest Town Library book group is a small, friendly group of people who love to talk about the books they have read. For more information about meeting times and the books they are reading, call Forest Town Library on 01623 623395 or email . I’d like to thank the group for having me yesterday – I really enjoyed my visit.

A new publishing phenomenon

The book group at Forest Town are going to be reading one of Stephenie Meyer’s books in the near future. The Twilight series seems to be selling like hot cakes at the moment – piles of them in bookshops – so this is obviously a name to watch.  If you don’t know Stephenie Meyer’s books, then think vampires and romance. Interested ?

Homegrown medicines

Did you watch the first edition of the new BBC2 series “Grow your own Drugs” with James Wong? We were treated to a recipe for a face mask and syrup of figs ( for that all important regularity!) amongst others. The book Grow your own Drugs [Collins £16.99 9780007307135 ] is already on sale and looks good.

Warsop Library

Warsop Library is undergoing a refurbishment at the moment, but it will soon reopen its doors officially on 21st March assuming all goes well.

Libraries are not the same as they used to be…

… and this may be a good thing or a bad thing. A recent article in the Daily Mail says that lending has dropped by half in the last fifteen years and more and more people are visiting libraries to surf the net rather than read. Library critics say that public libraries are “abandoning readers and betraying their mission to educate”. What should be their mission – just the same as it always was – or should it change with the times?  What do you think ?


  1. I so agree with that final statement. Last time I went into Sutton library I was deafened by ‘Wheels on the Bus’ from a large group of little children. Since when have libraries become Play Groups? This is not what I want.

  2. Very interesting article, i have bookmarked your blog for future referrence. Best regards

  3. This is very up-to-date info. I think I’ll share it on Delicious.

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