Book clubs are good for heads & souls, uniting people who like reading, as much as they like talking and writing. From all walks of life and ages, creative threads of storytelling pulling people together, in good and in unsettling times. In person and online. Earlier this year British loungewear brand Desmond & Dempsey announced the launch of its book club, called Sunday Reads and I was quick enough to join it.
The idea was simple – put yourself forward. If you were quick on your feet, or rather with your fingers, applying, you received a book, read it and sent the review, alongside your picture with the book, to D & D. The first book chosen for this delightful experiment was by an American writer Jacqueline Woodson called “Red At The Bone”. I haven’t come across Jacqueline’s writing before, so was sufficiently intrigued. The fact that the book had a manageable amount of pages – that was before Covid reared its ugly head and gave us all an unexpected pause, confining us to our homes, with time on our hands – was an added bonus.
When Joel & Molly, a husband & wife team behind Desmond & Dempsey, started their brand ( I first met them in 2016 & your can read my blog post about them here), they focussed on small steps and worked hard on building up a loyal consumer base. In time, winning over customers and retailers around the world, as well as expanding their team 7 growing their collections, adding underwear, robes & socks, plus kids pyjamas now too, Molly & Joel started adding more creative ideas, like beads to the necklace, launching pop-ups & The Sunday Paper (before the pandemic you could pick up your free copy from Gail’s Bakery, now you can just order it via the website with a few simple clicks). The book club became a new bead, creative flair coupled with evolution of a small idea into a treasure chest of them.
But back to the book club. The original plan was also to meet up in a cafe or a hotel to mull over the book, heads together over copious cups of coffee or tea. The unexpected spread of the virus & still restricted travel in London put a lock on that fabulous idea, with Zoom some time later now a possibility.
In the meantime, the latest issue of the Sunday Paper ( issue No.7 – Annabel Vicker‘s editor’s letter is a delightful highlight, telling the story of plans that were made & changed many times over in order for the issue to reach the reader; alongside All Things Marvellous & inspired by India, its vibrancy, craftsmanship & history) landed with an gentle thud on my mat. Inside I was surprised to also find Book Club reviews, mine included. With falling print numbers, Sunday newspapers still bring unbridled pleasure of largess of topics, pieces of the puzzle, people, images, stories & brain teasers. To be explored at your leisure, accompanied by coffee, croissant or a smoothie.
You can also find my review of Jacqueline’s beautiful book, still bubbling in my brain, months after I have read it, online here. Suffice to say, I can’t recommend it highly enough for the worldly pleasure it brings. Let me know what you think, if you read it!