by Melissa Donders
Reading the book ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ written by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows made me reflect on the way that I came to be part of TIC and what it means to me to be part of a bookclub.
The characters in the book ‘accidentally’ formed their literary (or bookclub) society during the WWII German occupation whilst living on the island of Guernsey. From this literary society, friendships formed, connections made and lives changed while they supported each other through an obviously difficult time during the war.
I had been a part of a bookclub in Australia, which I loved, so when I arrived in the Netherlands at the end of 2015 I googled ‘English speaking bookclub’ and the TIC website came up, which gave me valuable information, not only for the bookclub, but for other events and ways to meet other expats.
There’s something special about getting together with a group of people, who, you may or
may not see outside of bookclub, and connecting over a book. You’ve all got a common goal – reading and then discussing the same book. Sometime in the last month, you have all read the same words on paper, maybe interpreting them in different ways or not. And at some stage you realise you have come to know the people you meet once a month or so, as nearly everyone puts their personal view, experience and personality forward when discussing a book.
Whether you search for a book club or accidentally become part of one, just like in the book, being able to connect with people over a book you either love or hate can cross all social, religious, racial and gender barriers and can help you form friendships in a foreign world.
#Expatbookclub #Tilburg #reading #Guernsey
reviewed by Anne van Oorschot and Mala Raman
We had a super evening a great turn out to discuss this thought provoking book. As we settled into the lovely new home of one of our long-standing members and munched on the delicious snacks our hostess provided, we talked about I Am Malala, our most recent book.
All had liked it and the book gave many good points for discussion – how happy Malala’s family life was, despite the dangerous situation due to the ever increasing influence of the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan. The American’s in the group remarked on how little real information they had received via television/Internet/newspaper coverage of this time period; how little they understood the full political, military and cultural ramifications.
The group talked about how different Malala’s family’s “exile” to England is from our voluntary residence in Tilburg, yet how many similar challenges we face as strangers in a new culture. In spite of Malala’s multitude of awards including the Nobel Peace Prize, worldwide recognition and activism at the highest international levels, how her voice was that of a regular teenager with the trials and tribulation of a regular kid in many ways. We can recommend this inspiring book to all 🙂
#bookclub #Tilburg #Expats #expatlife