Devil in White City

Book Group Report: ‘White’

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson While a spirited pitch for Hari Kunzru’s White Tears was made when we selected our ‘white’ book, we went to a draw and this book from 2003 came out of the hat. Subtitled ‘Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America’, Larson’s book is Read More

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Book Group report: ‘Black’

The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch Our book group has never tackled Murdoch, although back in the day before I joined, they read John Bayley’s memoir of his wife, Iris, so I’m told. Several of us had read various novels by Iris Murdoch before  – indeed I read a whole bunch back in the late Read More

Keyes & Pope

Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books

Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to  chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month  present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More

3 novellas aug 2017

Three Short Novels – Simenon – Fitzgerald – Johnston

Georges Simenon – The Grand Banks Café Translated by David Coward Maigret and Mrs Maigret are about to go on holiday. Mrs Maigret is packing as Maigret reads a letter that’s arrived from an old friend. “…Listen, are you still set on passing our week’s holiday in Alsace?” She stared at him, not understanding. The Read More

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Book Group Report: Medicine

Our topic for discussion this month was medicine. Two months ago, when we were choosing which medical book to read, the nominations were varied – from real surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists to fictional surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists… Saturday – Ian McEwan Outbreak by Robin Cook    Not a red hair in sight – Read More

To War with Whitaker

Book Group choice for April: Egypt

To War With Whitaker The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly 1939-45 This month, our topic to choose a title was ‘Egypt’ – any book set in or about anything to do with the country. The nominations were: Death on the Nile – Christie Ice Cold in Alex – Christopher Landon Palace Walk by Read More

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4 3 2 1 – Go! At last, a review…

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster This is the book I’ve been most excited about since I got my hands on it before Christmas, yet, it has taken until now to review it. My reading of this wonderful, ‘big fat book’ (Auster’s words) has history: I was invited to join an online book group Read More

Grant Wood American Gothic

It’s been a busy week…

I am nearly in possession of a newly rebuilt conservatory. The old one was single glazed and rotting away – you could see the outdoors at the corners of some windows where the wood was falling off. I managed to get a good deal to have all the glass replaced with UPVC, latest technology with Read More

Newby Kush

Book Group Report: Travel

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby In an effort to get more variety into our reading, we’ve started a subject cycle. We pick a topic to research, then next month everyone comes with a suggestion or two on that subject and we whittle them down to a handful to draw a Read More

spill simmer

One Man and His Dog

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume This novel, by Anglo-Irish author, Sara Baume, published last year and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, was our book group read this month. It’s fair to say that it was selected more by default than design – we’d all come to book group a little jaded with nothing Read More

year of living danishly

Getting Hygge …

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell This was our book group’s read for January, chosen when our of our group had just come back from Copenhagen enthusiastic to learn more about the Danish way of life. The whole group enjoyed reading it – it’s very easy and the author has a nice line Read More

steppenwolf

“I am a wolf man, who despises the striving of common men”

Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse We often like to read something classic over Christmas for book group, but were a little uninspired when picking back in November. We resorted to reading a list of nobel prize-winners and Herman Hesse came up – we discounted Siddhartha as too mystical and The Glass Bead Game as too long, which led us Read More

lukavics

Catching up on reviewing…

My to be reviewed pile is larger than I like and I don’t want to forget the books – so here are some shorter reviews for you: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics This is one scary novel – published as a YA book but is definitely not for younger teenaged readers! The story is narrated Read More

miniaturist

Book Group Report on a Dutch Drama…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton You know how it is with book group choices – sometimes you can’t find a lot to talk about? Well, The Miniaturist ISN’T one of those books! While it’s fair to say that no-one in our group Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Reading Chekhov plays on the page for book group

About once a year, our book group feels adventurous and decides to read a play rather than a novel or non-fiction title.  Last year we read The Weir by Conor McPherson which was rather wonderful. This year we decided to plump for some Chekhov and as the plays are short to read we picked The Read More

Throw Away Unopened

It was surprising how many of us had a Jean Brodie in our schooldays…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark Published in 1961, Spark’s delicious tale of a teacher who lives vicariously through her selected pupils was our book group’s choice this month. Our discussions were wide-ranging, but we started off by chatting about how real Miss Brodie was – and it turned out that most of Read More

Throw Away Unopened

784 pages – Was it worth taking the time to read…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt It’s very likely that had our bookgroup not picked this novel, that The Goldfinch would have stayed on my shelves, unread, (beside Wolf Hall and The Luminaries), for much longer. I had to read it (well, I could have cribbed notes but didn’t), but I’m so glad I took the time Read More

Throw Away Unopened

My Fantasy Book Group

Eric over at Lonesome Reader recently posted his fantasy book group – “people who aren’t authors themselves but individuals in the media who are known to have a serious intellectual side to them.”  Several of Eric’s choice have written books, but aren’t necessarily best known for that – so there’s flexibility there.  I couldn’t resist thinking Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Authors & Book Groups – an event with Kate Clanchy and Louise Millar

On a balmy evening, we were out in the courtyard at Mostly Books for a precursor evening to Independent Booksellers Week (28th June to 5th July – find out more here). Mark and Nikki had managed to get not one but two lovely authors, Kate Clanchy and Louise Millar, to discuss the topic “What makes Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A little Saki goes a long way …

Reginald by Saki Nearly two years ago now, we chose to read some Saki short stories as summer Book Group reading. In the event, everyone managed to pick different editions with anthologised different Saki stories, and due to holidays etc our discussions were rather truncated. Tidying up the books around my bedside table this morning, Read More

Throw Away Unopened

‘A Duty-Dance with Death’ – ‘So it goes’

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut This was our book group’s choice for discussion in November. Whilst it’s fair to say that whilst nobody loved it, and some didn’t get on with it at all, it did provoke some good discussion. I quite enjoyed it, and would certainly read more by Vonnegut. My only previous experience with Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A man walks into a bar…

The Weir by Conor McPherson Occasionally we like to have a different kind of reading experience in our Book Group, and for this month’s read, we chose a play. This particular choice was  prompted by the fact that the father of one of our number was mounting a production later this autumn. Older plays on the Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Actor, Lover, Soldier, Spy!

Waiting for Sunrise  by William Boyd I was surprised to find that Waiting for Sunrise was the first novel by William Boyd that I’ve reviewed on the blog – I feel as if I know him better than I do, thanks to excellent TV adaptations of his books Restless and Any Human Heart in recent years, but Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Book Group Report – a German classic novella…

The Jew’s Beechby Annette Von Droste-Hülshoff Being a German novella from 1842, this book was an unusual choice for our Book Group. It came about in conversation because one of our group’s sons was studying it at uni, and another who teaches German, owned a copy in German which she’d never read. Luckily, translations are Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Him pretty good funny sometimes

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris The American humorist David Sedaris is famed for his self-deprecating wit and his good-natured take on life.  He has written nine books compiling his essays and stories now, plus loads of journalism, plays and more.  I first encountered him on radio – he’s recorded many of his Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Stieg Larsson meets Forrest Gump but way better …

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long. So the idea Read More