400 books later … the Whiteinch reading group still going strong – after 20 years

By Ian Marland at

A long-running West End book group is urging more people to read for pleasure.

Whiteinch Library Book Group – Glasgow Libraries’ longest-running reading circle – is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

White inch Book Group

Birthday: Whiteinch Book Group are celebrating their 20th anniversary

The 15-strong group, who meet once a month at their local library, have read more than 400 books.

Its members will be taking part in the inaugural Reading Groups Day at the Mitchell Library this weekend.

Whiteinch’s founding member Wilma Moore said: “Being part of a book discussion group is great.

“It’s good to hear different people’s viewpoints because I think other people draw things out of books that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

‘EVERYTHING’

“We don’t have academic talks about the books – the best debates happen when some people really like the book and others really don’t.

“We made a conscious decision to read all kinds of books, everything from Egyptian fiction, Japanese fiction, historical books, poetry, graphic novels, some non-fiction – we once read a book about parasites for Glasgow University, who even brought parasites along to our discussion group.

“We read all sorts of books because we are keen to not limit ourselves.”

Whiteinch Book Group

Varied: the group says it has gone out of its way to read different kinds of books

Richard Golding, one of the group’s newest members, said: “I would never normally read historical fiction, but I have here and enjoyed it.

“Coming here really does broaden your horizons.

“It’s great to be amongst a group of people who have a whole spectrum of emotions about a book – from loving it to hating it.”

Jean Houston, who has been with the group since it launched in 1997, added: “I used to be a terrible snob about books, but when I came here I started reading books that I would never have picked up in a month of Sundays.

“Reading is a great pleasure for me, but it’s really important to be able to talk about something you’ve read.

“If you meet someone the day after a TV programme was on, you can have a discussion about it, but that’s not something you tend to get with a book so it’s really nice to be able to talk about a book with people who’ve read it.”

PLEASURE

Reading for pleasure has been shown to have a dramatic impact on the lives of people of all ages; increasing empathy, reducing symptoms of depression and improving wellbeing.

The Reading Groups Day event, which kicks off Glasgow’s National Libraries Week (October 7-14), will be hosted by acclaimed Scottish author Louise Welsh.

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “If you’re a member of a book group, or fancy joining one, head down to your local library and find out how the library can support you.

“Whether you’re looking for a comfortable space to meet, recommendations for new books, or simply want to reserve enough copies for your whole group to enjoy, your local library can help you discover the many positives of book group membership.”

Glasgow’s Reading Groups Day takes place from 1pm – 4pm on Saturday, October 7 in the Mitchell Library. Admission is free.