French Book Group
|Meeting||We normally meet every Wednesday afternoon from 2.30 to 4 pm, with a short summer break.|
|Usual Venue||The leader's home, with the option of Zoom.|
|Status||Face-to-face meetings began again in September 2021.|
|Members||We have room for one or two more, so do ask.|
|Contact||Leader French Book Group|
Members order their own book copies via Internet. There are usually 8-10 members present, although because there is a meeting every Wednesday, not everyone is free to come each time. This is no problem, as we keep up to date regularly by email.
We agree on how many pages to read before the next meeting, then discuss them and read on a little way, which leads to further discussions. We take turns to read aloud, although sometimes people opt to stay silent. Our discussion takes place in French, but of course we drop into English if we can’t find the right words. We now have a native speaker in the group and this is very encouraging.
Over the last year and a half we have used Zoom very successfully. A couple of members who did not wish to use the technology dropped out at that point, but the rest of us took to it surprisingly well and it became a lifeline during lockdown. The U3A now provides our Zoom link so that we do not have to break off half way through.
Later this summer (2021) we began to hold garden meetings when the weather was favourable and good weather allowed us to meet outside throughout September. We should have enough space at indoor meetings for comfortable distancing, but Zoom will very likely remain our safety net.
Our most recent books have taken us into different regions of France in the twentieth century. For example ‘Marthe et Mathilde’ was the story of two women in Alsace, lifelong friends in a region straddling the cultures of France and Germany. This biography was written by their granddaughter Pascale Hugues. In the past we have read thrillers and mysteries (e.g. Fred Vargas, Guillaume Musso) and witty modern novels (e.g. Antoine Laurain, Katherine Pancol), not forgetting the authors whose novels are so closely developed from their own lives (e.g. Emmanuel Carrère, Delphine de Vigan) that some group members refused to consider them as true novels! However, we have enjoyed them all in one way or another. At the time of writing, we are reading ‘Les palombes ne passeront plus’ by Claude Michelet, the second volume of a series describing the lives of a farming family in Corrèze throughout the twentieth century. This is interesting for its local colour, its descriptions of rural life and the influence of the wider world on individual members of the family.
A certain level of fluency in French is obviously required to enjoy the books, but if you feel diffident about speaking you might still like to join in, as speaking comes with practice, and we have at least one member who thought they were ‘nul’ at the beginning but are now quite chatty. Please get in touch with the Group Leader as given in the Newsletter or via the Contact above.