So a bunch of us at work have started this new lunchtime thing – the Small Book Club. As much as I’d love to take credit for the Small Book Club, I can’t. This is down to my fab colleagues Dan and Emma; Dan for the idea and Emma for taking the idea and making it into a simple yet brilliant reality.
The format for the Small Book Club is simple – we read a small book and then meet to discuss over lunchtime. The book should be really short, short enough to read on a lunch break or two or on the bus. Or a book that we can dip in and out of; such as a collection of short stories, poetry or an anthology. Ideally the book we pick should be easy to get hold of and cheap or even free; for example, if we can access online or if one of us already has a copy to share, all the better.
So the first ‘small book’ chosen for our new book club was Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection The Sun and Her Flowers. I’m not the biggest fan of poetry but I swear I’ve been so moved by this beautiful collection as it really resonates with me. If it hadn’t been for the Small Book Club I don’t think I would have even considered reading the collection.
Emma chose this book as she really loves it. It is Rupi Kaur’s second poetry collection; her first Milk and Honey is a self-published collection of poetry and pros about survival from the heart that quickly became a global bestseller. Emma felt that with The Sun and Her Flowers, now that Kaur had a publishing deal the pressure was on, yet she beautifully produced an authentic collection that covers love, loss, trauma, femininity and immigration.
We’re only a small office of 19 people, yet eight of us met over lunch at the Sidney Street Cafe (a new venue for most of us with top food) to discuss The Sun and Her Flowers; and we all definitely got something positive from it.
Split into five chapters – wilting, falling, rooting, rising, blooming, Angela found the imagery of The Sun and Her Flowers so powerful and accessible; how people and relationships wilt, grow, bloom. Due to the way it was structured, Dan read the book like a narrative which enabled him to really reflect more on what Kaur was saying. This was very different to me as I dipped in and out (I follow Rupi Kaur on Instagram in which she frequently posts her poems).
As Millie pointed out, Kaur has something to say in her poetry for every situation you’re going through. In fact Millie often sends some of the poems to friends if they are going through a bit of a challenging time. Millie also commented that Kaur’s poetry is a great way to start conversations, especially ones that can sometimes be difficult to start.
Like me Catherine said she was not a real fan of poetry, but from reading Kaur’s collection, she has come to see what we can all get from a poem. We all agreed that Kaur is frank, humourous and accessible as she uses plain English. We all really enjoyed the poetry, finding it comforting, empowering and a true reminder to support each other.
I’m not sure if it’s The Sun and Her Flowers or the fact that we met and didn’t discuss anything work related, but since we’ve had our small book club, there’s been such a lovely energy about it all since.
There’s a few people in the office that couldn’t meet the first time round who want to be involved in our small book club. We’ve all got ideas for future books to discuss and are meeting again soon, so watch this space.
In the meantime go and read some Rupi Kaur poetry. It really is beautiful and I think we can all take something from it.