As far as I can find, there are no book clubs in Palmerston North (barring the City Library one, which seems to be a turn-up-with-random-book rather than an actual discussion of a set book).
I think this is appalling. I'd like to be a part of either one of these types of groups; but, barring online communities, there are no Palmerston North-specific book clubs or writers' groups, that I can find.
Want to help me make one?
I'm tossing around the idea of forming a combined book club/writers' group, meeting every alternating fortnight or so (e.g. the book club would meet every second Tuesday of the month; the writers' group would meet every fourth Tuesday of the month). Thus, while anyone could of course join both groups, you could just as easily join only one.
The writers' group would be a critique group, for more serious writers. There might not be a lot of "serious" creative writers in Palmy, but I've heard the ideal size for a critique group is 4-6 people; and I think Palmerston North can do that.
Writers' critique group: This could work in two ways. Each writer could bring their WIP along, read it out to the group (scary but helpful), and have it tactfully but honestly critiqued by the group. Alternatively, each month we could give one writer the "floor", and all help critique that writer's work. (Ideas? Suggestions?) This would be for creative writing only in any format. (Any genre; short stories, novel chapters, etc; fiction or non-fiction — as long as it's creative writing.
Book club: Every member could take turns suggesting a book to read and discuss at the following meeting. I think it would be neat if we could focus on New Zealand authors (buy NZ made!), but we wouldn't limit it to that. Again, any genre would be fine; if someone suggests a book in a genre that Person A doesn't normally read, it's a chance for Person A to enlarge their reading horizons.
I think both groups would be great for meeting new people; for connecting with friends you don't often see; and for just finding out about new books out there. It's always great to find (or meet!) a new author — and sometimes not in the genre you "normally" read, too.
Would anyone in Palmy be interested? Alternatively, does anyone who's not in Palmy think this sounds like a good idea? If you know any writers in Palmy who might be interested, spread the word! Let me know your feedback, and I'll look at taking this further.