We’ll meet again

I was wondering if anyone would turn up for the first Science Book Group meeting last week – needlessly, as it turned out! 11 enthusiasts ended up clustered round a couple of tables with books to talk about – including a couple of people who were just out for a quiet pint. We had a bit of a round table discussion of the books we had brought, and agreed that we needed some structure – but the fiction book club format, of everyone reading the same book each time, didn’t appeal.

So we thought it would be more interesting to have a theme, and for anyone interested to come along with a relevant book, ready to talk for, say, five minutes. This way we can follow up particular interests, find out about new books (or old ones) and generally broaden our minds. And, of course, no one has to talk if they don’t want to – in this format, it’s good to listen, and maybe join the discussion, or maybe not. But people who want to talk have uninterrupted time to do so, and we can cover several books.

We’re going to meet again at the Fleece on Westgate at 8pm on Tuesday 24 May, and our theme is Controversy.
Right away we had a little local controversy about pronunciation, but our minds were on bigger things! Let’s have the contemporary or historical arguments, the maverick ideas, the storms in teacups and scientific revolutions, but especially the good books about them and your five minutes around the pub table. See you on the 24th May – and before that at the Science Café at the Courthouse on the 12th!

A Science Book Group?

8pm on Tuesday 19 April @ The Fleece

The Science Café has quite a few regulars and the conversation between speakers often wanders round to books. Social though the Café is, it’s not really the place for an extended discussion of whether or not Schrödinger’s Cat is a useful analogy – or even whether Erwin actually had a cat.

This is much more the stuff of book groups, and that’s where the idea of a book group loosely linked to the Science Festival and Café came from. The model is the usual fiction book group, but with a focus on science books, biographies and autobiographies.

We can start by finding a book to read a book ahead of each meeting, and talk about what we liked and what we didn’t, how the author tackled the topic and so on. From there, we can see how it goes. And if we start by meeting in a pub, if it turns out to be just me sitting at a table with a pile of well-thumbed paperbacks, at least I’ll have a pint to console me!

So come along to the Fleece, on Westgate in Otley (now run by local brewery Wharfebank), at 8pm on Tuesday 19 April, ready to chat! If everyone brings a favourite book or two we can choose one to talk about for next time.