Book Group

Covid-19: Please note due to Covid-19 the Staff Book Group is being held online, via google meet. Please see information on the latest book and meeting day here.

The Staff Book Group is led by Karen Beck, School of Health and Related Research.

Karen Beck 2

The Staff Book Group meet monthly at lunchtime to discuss their book of the month. You can expect lively discussion around characters, writing style and authors. They cover a wide range of genres including everything from sci-fi, to autobiographies and beyond.

No qualifications are required to join the book group, just an interest in books and reading!

We asked Karen to share her experience of the Book Group so far, and why she chose to lead it.

1. Why do you lead the Book Group?

I was already a member of the book group and it needed a new leader in order for the group to continue. As I was already so invested in the group and there were other members of the group who really wanted it to continue, I decided to volunteer to become the leader. Being the leader of the book group means arranging meetings, booking a room to meet in and collating book suggestions from members of the group.

2. Talk us through your Staff Wellbeing programme journey.

The book group started life under the Women's Network originally and when Juice was launched we contacted the team to see whether the book group could be re-branded under the Staff Wellbeing programme. We felt that this may encourage a more diverse group and broaden our reading lists.

3. What do you enjoy the most about leading the Book Group?

The thing I enjoy most about being in a book group is that I am continually being introduced to new reading material. The book group members suggest the titles that we read and then discuss as a group. As leader of the group, I don't set the reading lists but I do contribute. It's nice to be taken out of my comfort zone and read something that I wouldn't normally pick up.

Book Group

4. Do you have any other wellbeing interests/hobbies?

I enjoy running. I've been running for about 7 years and started on a 'walk to jog' course, then continued from there. In the past, I've also done cross stitching, but haven't had much time for that lately.

5. If you could bust one myth about the Book Group, what would it be?

You don't need any qualifications to join book group. You just need to have an interest in reading and want to meet others with the same interest in reading. Having an open mind to the types of books you read would also be an advantage, given that book group members make suggestions for the books which are read.

6. How can staff integrate the Book Group into their work and home-life?

As the reading of the book itself is undertaken individually, it is up to individual members to work out the best time and place for this. Much of my reading takes place at home and on the tram journeys to and from work and I usually pop the meetings into my Google calendar so that I don't forget about them and so that I allow time once a month over lunchtime to get away from my desk.

7. What do you think are the benefits for staff who get involved?

As an avid reader, I feel that reading is often an escape from real life stresses and pressures as a really good book can transport you to different places or to a different time. There is also the benefit of meeting like minded people to discuss the books. We don't always agree with each other's views, but we are respectful of them. As I said earlier, there is also the benefit of being introduced to books that you wouldn't normally pick up. There's a benefit to having a break from your desk to attend the meeting too and stretching your legs to get there and back.

Book Group 2

8. What about the Book Group encourages others to connect?

The love of reading connects us as a group. The book group members are friendly and welcoming and I would really like to welcome others to join us.

9. What has been your favourite session - what happened on this session?

It's difficult to pick a favourite session, but one of my top reads in 2018 was a book group choice. It was 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed. This one stands out because I obtained this book and started to read it quite reluctantly because I just didn't think I was going to enjoy it. I was wondering what she might have to say about walking/hiking that I might be interested in (not being a walker/hiker myself). I was in for a big surprise, because I couldn't put the book down and became very invested in Cheryl making it to the end of the Pacific Crest Trail. I also went on to watch the film!

To book your place on to the next Staff Book Group, please visit the Staff Wellbeing Platform. For any queries please contact

Do you have an interest or hobby you'd like to share?

Whether it's board gaming, crafting, frisbeeing or something completely unique, if you'd like to share your interest or hobby with others we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch by emailing