Pittwater Life October 2017 Issue


Bill & Alfred. Election Deep Dive. Secret Men's Business. Eyes in the Sky.

Local chapter

for ‘Blokes

Book Club’

Here’s a ‘novel’ idea – a

men-only book club where

members can meet, share their

thoughts on crime literature

and broaden their friendship


And before anyone cries “discrimination!”,

consider it comes

with the blessing of partners

who are only too happy for their

gents to participate.

The all-new ‘Blokes Book

Club’, which meets for 90

minutes at Beachside Bookshop

at Avalon the first Monday of

every month, is chaired by store

co-owner Michael Armstrong.

Michael said the idea for the

club, which numbers up to

eight participants per session,

came after a few male customers

commented that their wives

were in a book club “… and

wouldn’t it be good to have a

club where blokes could chat

about books”.

“The advantage of a club is

that it forces the members to

read authors and topics they

may not normally choose to

themselves,” said Michael.

“Given the shop’s focus on

promoting Australian authors,

we are introducing members to

their favourite crime genre.”

Michael said proceedings

were very relaxed and that the

group discussion was stimulating.

“We start with a beer and

chat about overall impressions,”

he said. “Although discussion

is informal, we do follow an

overall framework to make sure

we cover off all aspects of the

book including structure, plot,

characters etc. We typically end

with whether we would recommend

this book, and to who.

“Now we are three books

along, we also compare the stories,

their plots, and characters

from the earlier authors.”

To date the group have chewed

over ‘Crimson Lake’ by Candice

Fox; ‘The Girl on Kellers Way’ by

Megan Goldin; and ‘The Twentieth

Man’ by Tony Jones. Their

current book, which will be

dissected in early October, is

‘The Rules of Backyard Cricket’

by Jock Serong.

Michael said members came

with their own experiences and

perspectives on life and this

fostered a good discussion and

the chance to learn.

“For example, Tony Jones’

book covered events in the early

1970s and it was great to have

some members describing their

own experiences of the era and

Not secret men’s business: Michael Armstrong (rear) with Blokes Book Club

members Andrew Blake, Ian Hallett, Geoff Payne, Ray Drury and Peter Peine.

how accurately the author captured

the feeling of the time.

“Personally I have found the

benefit of being involved in the

club is the discipline of having

to read a specific book a month,

widening my horizons and generally

being a more interesting

person to talk to!”

Local Geoff Payne said he

joined because it was just for


“My wife goes to two groups

in the area and there are no

males in either group,” he said.

“A male group with a narrow

focus on crime thrillers seemed

a good way of getting involved.”

He said he is enjoying the

informal catch-ups which involve

a general introduction by

Michael followed by overview

comments by most members.

“It is good to meet with

a male group of locals. It’s

not high-brow… it’s a pretty

spontaneous discussion of

impressions and summary of

the book’s strengths and weaknesses,”

Geoff added.

“The group session offers

some social contact and

the discussion is reasonably

lively – the group has a wide age

range… mid-40s to mid-70s.

“I’ve found people are serious

about the responsibility to read

the book, form a personal view

and be active in contributing.

“I find the differing views

stimulating and it has forced

me to look closer at how I am

influenced to form an opinion.”

Fellow member Peter Peine

said he looked forward to the

meetings of “like-minded men

with common interests”.

“It’s easy to make acquaintances,

an entertaining evening

and a great way to widen your

social network and meet people

from your neighbourhood.”

Want to know more? Call

Beachside Bookshop on 9918


– Nigel Wall


The Local Voice Since 1991

OCTOBER 2017 13

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