N.B. This post refers to our book group which 'meets' monthly here on the blog; the rest of Cornflower Books's content is based on my own reading which is separate from that of the group.
I am often asked about the Cornflower Book Group and how it works, and if the inquiry comes by email I tend to give a long and fairly detailed explanation in reply. To save repeating myself I thought I'd write a FAQ piece here to which I can link when anyone asks in future. So, with apologies to everyone who already knows all this, here goes:
Where and when do you meet?
We are solely an online group and we never meet!! This is not because we don't wish to - far from it, that would be great fun - but because we are scattered all over the UK and far beyond. We come together on this website on a given date every month to discuss the current book.
How do I join?
All you have to do is read whatever we're reading (see the CBG books listed in the sidebar on the left). If a title doesn't appeal or you haven't time to fit in another book one month, that's fine and we hope you'll join in again the next month. There are no sanctions for 'slackers' as it's all very informal and without pressure. The more people who take part, the more interesting and varied our book discussions are, so new 'members' are most welcome, but I don't point an accusatory finger at absentees (well, not often, Lindsay....)
How do you choose the books?
From an original list compiled from members' suggestions and augmented with what look to be interesting and suitable titles gleaned here and there. (The list is always open, so keep the ideas coming). We try to read a good variety and include books which are slightly 'out of the way' but hopefully vaut le detour! Availability (shops, libraries and internationally) is always a key factor in the final choice.
What form do the monthly discussions take?
I write an introductory post on the book which appears on the set day, then it's over to everyone else to have their say in the comments. The thread system means it is easy to make your own point or answer individually those made by other people, and there is no limit to how many times you can comment as the page remains open so that when you're struck by a crucial insight in the middle of the night you can come back and share it with us later!
How can I see what you've already read and what you've had to say about those books?
Having begun at the end of 2007 we have now read quite a bit. You'll find links to all the posts on our first twelve books here, and the Book Group Books category (see left) gives you access to the ongoing list, beginning in January 2009. It will be there that you'll always find details of our next title and discussion date.
Why do you have a latin motto?
Why not? Floreant Centaureae says it all.
What's this "Books and Cakes" thing which crops up every month?
Had we all been within easy reach of Edinburgh (where I live) I'd have had everyone here at the house for our monthly discussions and would have served cakes with our tea and coffee. Although we can't do this for real, I can provide a 'virtual' afternoon tea each month by baking something which has some relevance to the book we are reading. You'll find all those posts, plus recipes or appropriate links, by clicking here so you'll see, for instance, that we began the Group with a passionfruit and custard cake to go with All Passion Spent, made a pavlova for Voss and shortbread with a difference for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and so it goes on. Sometimes finding the right food is a challenge, but it's always fun!
Any other questions? Please just ask.