Last bookclub meeting of 2023: how it went

Time for another blog post about our latest, and this year’s last, book club meeting!

This time so many people turned up that we could barely fit everyone to sit in the same room! The best turnout we’ve had thus far. Thank you so much to everyone who came! We had such a great time munching away on some delicious pizza and discussing this meeting’s themes with you. Truly ending the year with a bang 😊

The theme this time was “Queers vs State”. A pretty broad topic, but that just gave us a lot of possible sub-topics to talk about. This meeting pretty much just turned into a venting session. We got to express our many frustrations with our native countries’ governments, the lack of protection for queer people by the state, and trans people’s dire situation with gender-affirming healthcare. In addition, we also learned about the situation of queer people in Poland and China and the sadly low rate of acceptance for queer folks in Estonian middle schools.

We also shared our Interesting™ (mostly negative) experiences with how queer people are talked about in education, or whether our existence is mentioned at all. It was lovely to hear that some people have still had some more positive experiences at school, but so disheartening to hear that the overall situation has in some senses gotten even worse. We also touched on seemingly unrelated topics, such as the fact that public transport is so expensive in Tartu. We agreed that it would be lovely if university students and young people in their twenties got more discounts in general :’)

Besides everything we talked about, it was also super heartening to see people, who usually seem more quiet and reserved, gradually get more comfortable and chime in more and more. All of our book club visitors are incredibly dear to us and we love that we can create a safe space for people to come together and feel like they belong somewhere.

Although it is called a “book club”, we have noticed that most people who join us don’t actually read that many books. Which is also perfectly okay, no shame in that whatsoever! We usually end up talking more about movies and TV shows, and most prevalent are people’s own personal experiences. This is why we have been discussing that starting from 2024 we should maybe transform our book club into something more of a discussion corner/talking hour/etc. Maybe then we would not be as limited in our discussion topics and hopefully more people would want to join us on a regular basis.

Currently the plan is to keep the format of the meetings the same as it has been these past few months. So that we have a general theme, some possible discussion questions prepared to get the visitors talking, and some snacks to keep us all satiated while we enjoy each other’s wonderful company. But starting from the new year, it would just be without any added pressure to be a reader to join.

If you would still like to have a book club as well, let us know! We would love to have a place to discuss any and all queer literary finds. Even during this meeting quite a few people expressed their interest in queer fiction, which was incredibly lovely to hear!

All in all, we were so happy to see so many of you join this time and we hope to see you again in whatever format we decide on, come new year.

Thank you for a wonderful year of book clubbing and see you again in 2024!