A busy life

Interview with Lynda Ward, Tarragona and Reus ECclub Group Leader

They (the group members) enjoy books about real, ordinary people and their lives
Where are you originally from and where do you live now?
–I'm originally from London but I've lived in Catalonia for just over 18 years now. First in Tarragona and now in Reus. In London I lived in quite a few different neighbourhoods. I once even lived for a year in Elton, near Blackheath, which is South of the River. I've had flats and houses in South Kensington and Chelsea, North Islington, Shepher'd Bush and Haringey.
What do you do apart from the ECClub?
–I work for Grup CIEF, a Catalan company which offers a wide range of business services to companies, as coordinator for the language courses and I also work as an in-company English teacher. I've been with the company for 7 years now. It's based in Barcelona but my office is in Reus and I coordinate courses all around province of Tarragona as well as in Zaragoza.
How would you describe your groups there?
–The regulars in my EC groups are lovely, enthusiastic people and always have interesting comments and questions about the books and English culture. Many of them are teachers. My groups are smaller than I would like. It would be more interesting for those who participate if there were more people.
What kind of books do your members prefer to read?
–Both Advanced and Intermediate groups like books with a good strong story line and not too “intellectual or experimental”. Sometimes they don't get the humour because that's very culture dependent. They enjoy books about real, ordinary people and their lives. They tolerate violent or sexy scenes very well considering the the Catalans ans Spanish are often more prudish about these things than the English, as long as the story is interesting. They are not so keen on translated books or books set in Africa or India, with a lot of dialect expressions. Of course, everybody also has their own individual likes and dislikes, but they generally prefer detective stories to science fiction.
Which books did you like the most last year? Why?
–I loved the 'White Tiger' It was a fantastic book for me. Fast and funny but really very critical of corruption and social inequality in Indian society. I loved the author's clear clean style and his portrayal of a poor person who normally has no voice in literature, a the main character. I had never read anything by this author before.
I also liked the Paul Torday books very much as I din't know this author either, and found the two books very original and different with interesting but believable characters and deep themes.
–What's the best thing about being an ECClub group leader?
The two equally lovely things are making new friends, as I feel close to the regulars in my groups, and getting the chance to discover new, for me, authors. It's like Christmas Day when I open a new book! It's very nice to be with people who enjoy English and are interested in improving their level, as many of my students in the companies only regard it as an obligation.
What do you like most about Catalonia?
I like the natural setting: the Mediterranean coast and the mountains. Also there are some lovely places to visit. The climate is also pleasant.
What would you highlight about your city?
Reus is a convenient town to live in. It's small and everything is nearby. It's very easy to get from Reus to Tarragona and other towns as the road system is very good with the T11 ring road. Reus is like a largish village and not stressful and it's even possible to park quite cheaply. The local hazelnuts are the best I've tasted anywhere.
What made you choose Reus to live?
I used to live in Tarragona but my husband was born in Reus and he works in the town. His mother also lives here, so we decided to buy our house in Reus.
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