“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are” (Mason Cooley). This was borne out by a spectacular 33% increase in book sales following lockdown. Bookshop closures sent readers scurrying online, where Waterstones reported overall sales quadrupling week on week.
Top buys for adults include ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney, ‘Blood Orange’ by Harriet Tyce and Charlie Mackesie’s ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’.
Transported by books, individual members of the Rotherham U3A reading group have crossed continents and travelled through time with titles ranging from ‘That Glimpse of Truth’, one hundred of the world’s best short stories chosen by David Miller; Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’, a fictionalised story based around the tragic death in 1596 of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son; ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens, set on the Carolina coast in 1969; with Ann Cleeves’ series of Tyneside detective novels that inspired the TV series ‘Vera’.
Fortnightly meetings are currently suspended, but regular updates by telephone, email or weekly Zoom meetings keep them in touch with each other’s news and the latest ‘good reads’. Book wish-lists will no doubt grow throughout autumn, when titles held back from March will hit the shelves in a successive flurry of ‘Super Thursdays’. Hopefully something for everyone.
Similarly, the U3A aims to cover a wide range of interests. It welcomes ideas for new activities to extend its programme, and there’s help and support for anybody interested in launching a new group when the U3A re-opens its doors. At present it provides over 30 different activity groups for anyone no longer working full-time, and there’s no lower or upper age limit.
Visit www.u3a.org.uk/rotherham to find out more.