Next Meetup

December [2018 choice] Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
PLEASE NOTE NEW VENUE AND DATE The winner of the December poll is Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Nominated by Katherine, here is what she said about it.

Packhorse & Talbot

145 Chiswick High Road Chiswick · Hounslow

What we're about

We're slowly making our way through the Guardian's list of 1000 novels everyone must read (, which covers novels about love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, and war and travel. We work our way through the categories each month, and invite members to nominate books from the list. Once nominations have been received, all members vote for their choice.

The book club is for people living in and around Chiswick, as well as those who don't mind travelling out West to join us. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month, in a local pub, and engage in interesting discussions about the book we've just read.


Can I join your group?

Yes! We are now open to new members.

How many people come to each book gathering?

There's a friendly 'core group' of people who come each month (about 20), and we find that there are four or five newbies each month who are testing us out to see if the group is for them! Don't be put off by the '300+ book worms' who are signed up to this site.

*Please note that from July the option to RSVP only opens one month before the scheduled meet-up event. Books will still be chosen well in advance to give all our members a chance to read them earlier.

How does the book club work?

There is a team of leaders who take it in turns to host the meetings. They will prepare a summary sheet, with a short synopsis, and a few questions for discussion. We tend to work through these very loosely- it's a fairly informal affair, and we all usually end up off topic, so they are a useful way of trying to revert the conversation back to the book in question!

How can I find the book of the month?

The Guardian claims that every book on their list can be purchased through the Guardian bookshop. However, we haven't tested that option yet!

Some people buy their book from Amazon on kindle, brand new or second hand through the marketplace (you should be able to find most of the books we read there) often you'll get free postage by opting for the slower delivery. You could also try your local charity shop - here in Chiswick we have a marvelous Oxfam near Turnham Green Station - or there's always your local library. Member's also recommend Read It Swap It or Green

If you have any other ideas for tracking down the books we read, please let me know using the 'Contact Us' button.

When should I buy/borrow the book?

We recommend getting the book as early as possible, so you have time to finish it before we meet, and get the most out of discussions with fellow book lovers! We list meetups 6 months in advance, so you will have plenty of time to find and read the book. This also allows us to tackle some of the longer ones.

Can I come to a book gathering even if I haven't finished the book?

Sometimes! Please contact us in advance (i.e at least by the day before) if you haven't finished the book but still want to come. Sometimes, this is absolutely fine, but on other occasions, you might have difficulty joining in the discussions. For example, if you hadn't finished Paul Auster's City of Glass in advance of our November gathering, you would have been completely lost during our discussions and activities.

Which novels do you read?

Which novels do you read?Check in our 'Files' folder (under the 'More' tab above) to see the Guardian's list of '1000 novels everyone must read' or check them out on their website. We select the novels 6 months in advance by the organizers starting a themed nomination discussion on the message board and asking members to recommend one book each, then voting begins on our polling pages!

What if I RSVP and then don't turn up?

If you RSVP 'Yes' and then don't turn up (or don't let us know in advance that you're not coming), you have tied up a spot that could have been taken by someone who really wanted to come! Please be aware there are people who are keen to be active members and want the chance to join our discussions, so only say you're coming if you are committed to reading the book & joining in.

How does the Waiting List work?

We limit attendance just to try & keep the book group manageable. You can still RSVP yes to attending if there are no spots left whereupon you will be allocated a waiting list space. If anyone changes their RSVP to 'No' you will be automatically bumped up to attending on a 'first come first served' basis.

Please take the time to read the book & save the date regardless. More often than not members have last minute changes & you may find that you'll move up the waiting list to attending in no time.

Plus feel free to contact the organizers to query any extra capacity, if you've taken the time & effort to read the book we can always squeeze a few more in as long as we know what we're expecting :)

Is there a cost for each meetup?

The pub we meet at doesn't charge us for the venue, which is great. However, we are charged for this website, so we ask all attendees to contribute £1 per meetup.

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