Following the first of hopefully many Book Club Tour on the 11 March 2017 with the BookWorms Book Club, we had a few questions for the co-founder and chairperson – the lovely Lorraine Sithole.
BBC: (Boookamoso Book Club) Who are the BookWorms, when did you begin meeting and what do you do besides being a book club with monthly meetings?
LS: (Lorraine Sithole) BookWorms-Book-Club is a group of women brought together by their love of reading. It was founded 6 years ago and one of its pillars is supporting community-based programmes which are on the fringes.
BBC: When you had plans for a book club, did you imagine it would grow as big as it has?
LS: I had a pretty good idea of where I’d like to take the book club and who I needed to bring in to ensure that our objectives are realized. It’s been a great learning curve and hard work, but because I have a teachable spirit, I didn’t let the challenges derail my journey.
BB: What are the plans you have lined up to celebrate your anniversary as a collective?
LS: This year we are keeping it on the down-low to concentrate on the bigger picture. We have established a bigger vehicle which will allow us a wider reach with regards to our community-based programmes and our primary objective of making reading the number one source of entertainment.
BBC: Describe a day in the life a BookWormer – you in particular?
LS: The first part of my morning is spent on getting the kids ready for school and the husband ready for work. I then switch on my laptop to respond to emails. Then I am on my phone trolling social media to see what’s happening in the literary world. I attend a lot of books launches, readings and discussions. Supporting our local literary talent is of utmost importance to me.
BBC: What are you currently reading besides your monthly pick as part of your book review meeting? Because we know one can never read just one book at a time.
LS: I am currently reading “Ulala” by Ayanda Xaba, “After You” by Jojo Moses and “Fiela se kind” by Dalene Matthee.
BBC: What are the responsibilities of each member on a monthly basis if there are any?
LS: The responsibilities of each member are 1. Buy and read the current choice 2. Contribute a stipend to the kitty to ensure that we meet our community-based programme obligations 3. Attend and participate in the reviews
BBC: What are the difficulties you endure as an established book club with a solid 14/15 members? From a chairperson, to a collective point of view.
LS: In the beginning it was forming the group into a cohesive collective and getting the administration right. Right now it is about inspiring and motivating the ladies to read. Keeping the book club interesting and the ladies interested is key.
BB: Was the decision to have monthly payments/contributions easy for all members? Please elaborate on your contributions and how they’re broken down.
LS: The decision for monthly contributions was easy because it is the cornerstone of the book club. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy because as much as giving is an inherent human trait, it doesn’t come easy for some. But I prevailed. Once the importance of giving was established as a principle, it became natural. The contributions are affordable. It is the price of a manicure or a moisturizer. Just put it on your monthly budget. This year 80% goes towards the recreation center we support in Orlando East and 20% is for book club incidentals such as gifts for the authors we invite to our reviews.
BBC: What are your earliest memories of your growing love for reading when you were little?
LS: OMG, reading has always been as natural as breathing to me. My earliest memories is of me cleaning my granny’s big red front red stoeps with bits and pieces of newspaper articles in my waist band.
BBC: The Sithole household, is it filled with books up to the top of the ceiling and the kids – are they into reading like their mom? #knowingLorraineTheMom
LS: We are for books and they are not for show. My husband is a big reader of science- fiction, fantasy and historical books. He ordered a whole series of “Game of Thrones” before it became a “thing”. He has about 30 of Terry Pratchett’s books. Crime fiction, we have close to 50 books. I clean up the book shelves twice a year because I love sharing stories but they are no sooner filled to the brim again.
The kids ready but the older ones have found funner things to do. The young ones are still fascinated especially the baby. He just loves his picture books and has begun making his own stories to go with the pictures.
Having met some of the members of the book club – this Q&A has most certainly been fun. And we are looking forward to having more tours around Joburg and revisiting the Bookworms Book Club ladies during one of their sessions during the course of the year. Check out Bookworms Book Club on Twitter.
If you would like Omphile to visit your book club – do get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com