Susan talks about what coming to Make Friends with a Book at Bleakhouse Library means to her.

I have been a member of the group at Bleakhouse Library for nearly four years now. I have gained a lot from the group, reading books, plays and poems which we have read over the years.

I have also enjoyed discussing the current book or play with other members of the group.

Following the death of my husband, the group has helped me enormously.

Over the years the membership has changed as new readers come to join us and other leave – perhaps because they feel more confident. It does seem to me that all members gain in confidence as well as knowledge and that the acquired reading skills help them in their everyday life whether with communication or just simply with reading and writing.

The varied programme of reading – novels, short stories, poems and plays followed by discussion and comment has, I am sure, improved many member’s skills to express their thoughts and easily join in conversation. (This particularly applies to those who have rarely read and to those for whom English is a second language).

Over the years we have read and discussed works by Shakespeare, Dickens, Steinbeck and George Eliot to name a few. I really enjoyed reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. My favourite poem would probably be The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.

I was really sad to hear the group will end in March as the funding has now ceased. I really hope that the Make Friends with a Book groups will continue and some funding is found as it would be a shame to lose a group that does such excellent work.  I for one will really miss my group at Bleakhouse Library.

Susan’s Story


Many thanks for your recent email and for sharing with us your Group’s experience when visiting our theatre in October. Your email made very inspiring reading and illustrated many of the themes at the heart of our work, namely that many young people and adults start out feeling Shakespeare is not for them but then discover that his work opens up new ways of thinking and new ways of understanding our own lives in the world we live in.

Jacqui O’Hanlon – Director of Education, Royal Shakespeare Company


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