Saturday, September 16, 2006

Minutes 28/08/2006

BOOK CLUB MEETING – Monday, August 28th, 2006
PRESENT: Willow Pearce, Laura Sweet, St Clair Trott, Craig Harris
ABSENT: Martha Ferguson (Regrets) Amin Smith, Kimberley Tucker

• The meeting was held at Willow’s house and began at 6:15PM.
• Before the meeting began it was noted that the club had recently passed its one-year anniversary.
• The upcoming movie night was arranged for late in September. Laura was to advise Craig of a suitable date for her. Most other members were flexible at that time of year.
• The next club selection, ‘Orwell’s England’ by George Orwell, has arrived. This book was chosen by Laura and is currently available at the Bermuda Bookstore.
• St Clair agreed to consider titles for our next selection.
• Craig suggested that a possible book that might be of interest to all members was a biography on Sir Richard Burton. This idea met with general agreement and can be considered for the future.
• Our last book, ‘1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare’, by James Shapiro, was next to be debated.
• Willow deemed this book ‘ok’, stating that it did not ‘blow him away’.
• St Clair commented that few people at the time had interviewed Shakespeare or his family members. He lamented this and the loss of first hand knowledge on the poet and playwright.
• Laura noted that she had learned a lot about the man and his times but found her interest waning when she was not familiar with the play.
• Craig concurred with this assessment. He confessed that he found the book’s last 60 pages or so to be especially tedious to read.
• Craig went on to question the fact that the book had recently won the BBC’s prize as the best work of non-fiction. Was this warranted?
• Willow agreed that in terms of the depth of research evident in this book it was no surprise it had won this award.
• Unfortunately none of the members were completely familiar with all four of the plays discussed in ‘1599’. St Clair commented that the works of Shakespeare were not taught or promoted during his school days. He felt this was a mistake.
• Craig remembered that he had studied Julius Caesar in high school, amongst other Shakespeare plays, and that he considered it one of the playwright’s best and most enjoyable works.
• There was general discussion on the practice of ‘stealing’ plays from each other at this time. It was noted that today filmmakers often create ‘remakes’ of popular old films.
• The book had revealed that in 1599 one third of all Londoners attended a play each month. This was also compared to our society’s attendance of films. It was also agreed, that at least in Bermuda, it would be difficult to see that many plays. Bermuda was not seen to be a cultural bastion.
• Was there jealousy between Shakespeare and his chief comic actor – Will Kempe? The group was reminded that Shakespeare did indeed act at times, most often taking on the roles of old men.
• The meeting continued with a varied discussion of things such as the Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs current lecture series, Boer prisoners of war in Bermuda and artists who had committed suicide during the 1970’s – a favourite topic of Willow. The members also appreciated reviewing Willow’s collection of wooden carvings done by the Boers in the early 20th Century.
• In the Page Turner/Page Burner segment of the meeting St Clair introduced three books he had recently purchased. They were ‘Holy Blood/Holy Grail’, ‘Godless by Anne Coulter and ‘The Looming Tower’ by Lawrence Wright. Craig also passed around two booklets which highlighted both the house Shakespeare was born in as well as the home of his wife – ‘Anne Hathaway’s House. Both were purchased at Stratford upon Avon.
• The next meeting was scheduled for early October. The date is to be decided once Craig can guarantee his schedule. Again, most members were flexible.
• The meeting ended at 8:15PM.