Mortal Fire 'real-life' book club discussion pocast

by Guy Somerset / 28 June, 2013
Ale, bread and honey - and lots of conversation.
For the final Listener Book Club "real-life" book club podcast, I met a young club in Aro Valley, Wellington, where we supped Wasp Ale and ate bread and honey, in between discussing Elizabeth Knox’s Mortal Fire (Gecko, $29.99). No one in the group – including me – had read the Dreamhunter duet, and our heads were still reeling from Mortal Fire, which is a rich and engaging read, full of complex magic. A terrible faux pas: we discussed the symbolism of bees within the novel after I turned the recorder off.

This book club started three years ago when several founding members arrived in the capital and were looking for a way to meet new friends that didn’t involve the perils of asking someone on "a lady date". The club is a safe and successful way of "transitioning" in new friends and there’s always the book to fall back on, if there’s nothing else to talk about.

The club began with themed evenings (hence the honey/bee theme that supported Mortal Fire) and members all bring along their recent reading; sometimes they don’t even discuss books at all. Sometimes they discuss Woman’s Weekly articles. Or look at the National Geographic app on an iPad.

The members discussing Mortal Fire are:

  • Natalie, marketing coordinator for the New Zealand Festival (favourite book: Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy).

  • Pippa teaches art at high school (she loved Maurice Gee books when she was younger, especially Under the Mountain).

  • Leanne is a graphic designer (she couldn’t decide on her favourite book as she likes things very evenly).

  • Bri is a primary school teacher (favourite books: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay and Chilly Billy by Peter Mayle).

  • Lucy works for an accessories importing company (she again found it hard to name one favourite book. I’ve noticed asking someone their favourite book is a weird form of social torture).

  • Kelly is in the Navy (two of her favourite reads are Silver Wattle and Wild Lavender by Belinda Alexandra). 

I’d like to thank this book club and indeed all the book clubs and booksellers who have discussed novels with us over the last 15 months. Thanks for your time, insights and generosity. And your cake, goddamn it. And your cake. Did I mention the wine?

I have enjoyed my pop-up experiences at these other clubs. It’s a great way to meet intelligent women, without having to go on "a lady date".


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