Rhiannon King founded The Florence Book Club group on Facebook a year ago in search of other bookishly-minded individuals who would create a community and share the back and forth of literary debates that are so sought after by those who love literature. Here, Rhiannon tells us a bit about the club and how to get involved.
What brought you to Florence and what inspired you to create the book club?
I studied literature and creative writing at Cardiff University where there was naturally a very bookish environment. There’s something about literary debates that I missed so much. I had been in Florence for two years and I thought I would create the Facebook group to bring like-minded people together and see what happens. I’ve had such a big response, even though it’s still in the early stages. If you get a bunch of strangers together and you’ve all read the same book, you know there are going to be no awkward silences and that everyone will have an opinion.
How many people attend and how regularly do you meet?
Sometimes there are three of us, other times there are nine or more. It’s always a little different and it’s a very varied group. We have people from all over the world. We usually meet at 10am on a Sunday every six weeks or so, in various venues. Even if you don’t finish the book, people are always welcome! While we do discuss the book, there are constant tangents about bookish things and it quite often turns into a discussion about other authors and books, with meetings tending to last about an hour. There’s no kind of payment or commitment beyond buying your coffee and your book. Some people prefer audiobooks and that’s okay, too! We share information about our events on our Facebook group. Every book we read is completely different. We choose it via a poll where everyone submits ideas, which is great for me too because I can step outside what I usually read. We often organize the purchase of books through the Paperback Exchange who offer a discount for book clubs, and it’s a nice way to support a local bookshop.