It's been two years since the start of my monthly short story discussion club and I have greatly enjoyed every session! Believe it or not, this is the first book group I've ever attended and it has been fantastic to chat about some of my favourite stories. I'm also proud of the wonderful attendees who have read and discussed challenging fiction in a foreign language. Well done!
During lockdown, I was inspired to set up the group, as so many friends and colleagues were offering free Yoga sessions, doing quiz nights and starting discussion groups. I wanted to help international English speakers improve their language skills and discover great writing. There have been between three and twelve attendees every session. Over twenty nationalities have been represented.
During the Zoom call, we start with a summary then discuss aspects such as plot, structure, themes, characters and give our opinions on the story. There is also time to go through any difficult vocabulary. Every session, attendees have practised their ability to discuss complex literature in a group and have expressed themselves clearly. In fact, I always learn something new about the stories, too!
Improve your English by reading great storiesEach month, I try to pick a story to show a new perspective. Here is the list of stories we have discussed:
- April 2020: The Lottery - Shirley Jackson (USA) - 1948
- May 2020: The Sweet Sop - Ingrid Persaud (Trinidad & Tobago) - 2017
- June 2020: A Fly in the Ointment - V.S. Pritchett (UK) - 1977
- July 2020: The Rocking Horse Winner - DH Lawrence (UK) - 1926
- August 2020: Love Many - Niamh Campbell (Ireland) - 2020
- September 2020: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - Ambrose Bierce (USA) - 1890
- October 2020: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas - Ursula K. Le Guin (USA) - 1973
- November 2020: Lamb to the Slaughter - Roald Dahl (Noway/UK) - 1953
- December 2020: The Great Indian Tee and Snakes - Kritika Pandey (India) - 2020
- January 2021: Five Stories - Lydia Davis (USA) - 2015
- March 2021: The Signalman - Charles Dickens (UK) - 1869
- April 2021: Once Upon a Time - Nadine Gordimer (South Africa) - 1989
- May 2021: The Art of Waving - Andrea McLeod (Australia) - 2020
- June 2021: The Thing Around Your Neck - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (Nigeria) - 2004
- July 2021: The Boat - Alistair MacLeod (Canada) - 1968
- August 2021: A Good Man is Hard to Find - Flannery O’Connor (USA) - 1953
- September 2021: Gone for a Song - Elif Shafak (Turkey) - 2020
- October 2021: Bullet in the Brain - Tobias Wolff (USA) - 1995
- November 2021: The Garden Party - Katherine Mansfield (New Zealand) - 1922
- December 2021: The Swimmer - John Cheever (USA) - 1964
- January 2022: Fishskin Hareskin - Zoe Gilbert (UK) - 2014
- February 2022: There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury (USA) - 1950
- March 2022: Matalasi - Jennifer Bennett-Tuionetoa (Samoa) - 2018
- April 2022: Symbols and Signs - Vladimir Nabokov (Russia / USA) - (1948)
- May 2022: The Gift of the Magi - O Henry (USA) - 1906
I look forward to another year of great story discussions.