Book Group

I joined our book group back in 2004 and it had already been going for quite a few years even then – it’s never had a name. Our group has male and female members of all ages, and we read a wide variety of books from classics to genre, plus non-fiction. We generally meet in an Abingdon pub with occasional forays out, (although at the moment we’re zooming of course). We welcome new members most of the time, so if you’d like to join us, do contact me.

Listed below are all the books we’ve read since I joined – those that provoked particularly good discussions are starred accordingly and books are listed in the month we discuss them, (links to my report backs in brackets).  We try to read a really wide variety of books including occasional non-fiction. Nothing scares us!  At the moment, we’re working through the alphabet to choose our books; everyone pitches in with suggestions, and we either concur on a title use the proverbial hat to choose!

J: Book Association 10b Innocence + a Classic for Christmas: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – Report
F: Book Association 11 Pulitzer winner: Now in November by Josephine Johnson (won in 1935) – Report
M: Flora & Fauna 1 – Wild card: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (Octopus) – Report
A: Flora & Fauna 2 – ‘A’ – The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich
M: Flora & Fauna 2 – ‘B’ – Bear by Marian Engel
J: Flora & Fauna 2 – ‘C’
J: Flora & Fauna 2 – ‘D’

J: Christmas: The Box of Delights by John Masefield
F: Jubilee Read 2010s: The Promise by Damon Dalgut – *** Review
M: Book Association 1: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
A: Book Association 2 Sea: The Kon-Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdahl – Review
M: Book Association 3 Norwegian: The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting
J: Book Association 4 Bell: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
J: Book Association 5: Similar themes: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzanne
A: Book Association 6 Doll: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre (Russian Dolls on 1st cover) – Review
S: Book Association 7 Soldier: The Good Soldier Švejk by Yaroslav Hašek – Review (DNF)
O: Book Association 8 Czech: The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan (set in Prague) (Read half, skimmed rest)
N: Book Association 9 Museum: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk *** – Review
D: Book Association 10a Turkish author: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak – (CGS)

J: Christmas: The Misteltoe Murder by PD James Review
F: “V” is for: Vurt by Jeff Noon. Review
M: “W” is for: The Salt Path by Raynor Wynn ** Review
A: “X” is for: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
M: “Y” is for: Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore * Review
J: “Z” is for: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers ** Review
J: Jubilee Read 1950s – To Sir, With Love by E R Braithwaite * Review
A: Jubilee Read 1960s – Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney Review
S: Jubilee Read 1970s – Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai
O: Jubilee Read 1980s – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
N: Jubilee Read 1990s – Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah Review
D: Jubilee Read 2000s – A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam Review

J: “J” is for: Spring Festival by Xia Jia
F: “K” is for: Kundera, Milan – The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Review
M: “L” is for: Lanny by Max Porter** – Review
A: “M” is for: M is for Murder by Keri Beevis – Review
M: “N” is for: Nora Ephron – Heartburn – Review
J: “O” is for: The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien – Review
J: “P” is for: The Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
A: “Q” is for: Q&A by Vikas Swarup (original novel of Slumdog Millionaire)
S: “R” is for: The Road Home by Rose Tremain
O: “S” is for: Drive by James Sallis – Review
N: “T” is for: The House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild
D: “U” is for: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead **

J: Classic: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte – I failed – didn’t read!
F: Hidden Gem: A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines – Review
M: Pam’s Choice: In the Woods by Tana French – Review
A: “A” is for…: Ackroyd, Peter – Dan Leno & the Limehouse Golem – Review
M: “B” is for…: Becoming by Michelle Obama – Review
J: “C” is for…: Celeste Ng – Little Fires Everywhere – Review
J: “D” is for…: Dune by Frank Herbert – Review
A: “E” is for…: Eric Ambler – The Mask of Dimitrios
S: “F” is for… : Foley, Lucy – The Guest List
O: “G” is for…: Guy Gunaratne – In Our Mad and Furious City
N: “H” is for…: Harris, Robert – Archangel
D: “I’ is for...: Ice – Anna Kavan

J: Classic: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – Review
F: Australia(n) The Dry by Jane Harper – Review
M: China/Chinese: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
A: Theresa’s Pick: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller – Review
M: Confectionery: Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float and then he Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson – Review
J: Water: The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
J: Fire: After the Fire by Will Hill – Review
A: Turtle: Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman – Review
S: Air/Wind: A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale – Review **
O: A Recommendation: East West Street by Philippe Sand – Review
N: Oxford: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – Review
D: Grapes: Sideways by Rex Pickett

J: Doors:
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992) – Review **
F: Classic:
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh Review
M: Green: Revenge of the Lawn by Richard Brautigan – Review
A: Red:
The Red House Mystery by A A Milne – Review
M: Blue:
The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier – Review
J:  Black:
The Black Prince by Iris MurdochReview
J:  White:
The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson – Review *
A: Orange: 
Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson – Review
S: Purple:
The Purple Cloud by M.P.Shiel – Review *
O: Pink: 
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
N: Silver:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
D: Banned Books:
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

J: Classic for Christmas: Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis – Review
F: Central Americas: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez – Review
M: Children’s Classic: Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr – Review *
A: Egypt:  To War With Whitaker – The Wartime Diaries of the Countess Ranfurly (1939-45) – Review **
M: Medicine: Outbreak by Robin Cook – Review
J:  Politics:  On a Clear Day by David Blunkett and/or Asterix the Gaul/Asterix & Cleopatra
J:  Jenny’s Last Meeting: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald – Review **
A: SF: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
S: Naval: Ramage by Dudley Pope
O: Canada & Far North: White Fang by Jack London
N: Farming: Stoner by John Williams
D: Windows: The High Window by Raymond Chandler – Review

J: Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse – Review **
F: The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – Review **
M: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant – Review **
A: Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume – Review
M: Sex: Skin by Roald Dahl & Philosophy in the Boudoir by De Sade **
J: Travel: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby – Review **
J: Noir: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – Review
A: Food: John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk – Review *
S: Music: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
O: Ghosts/Horror: Dark Matter by Michelle Paver *
N: Sport: Jonny by Jonny Wilkinson

J: The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes – Review
F: The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker
M: The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse by Lewis Dartnell
A: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton **
M: The Bees by Laline Paull **
J:  Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih – O (6/10) – Review
J: The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
A: Polo by Jilly Cooper **
S: Money by Martin Amis **
O: Family Album by Penelope Lively
N: A Short Gentleman by Jon Canter – Review

J: The Explorer by James Smythe Report **
F: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
M: I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardittir
A: Half Bad by Sally Green – Review
M: Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1)by Ben Aaronovitch
J: Clean: An Unsanitised History of Washing Katherine Ashenburg
J: The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule – Book Group Report
A: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque – Book Group Report & Review
S: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Book Group Report & Review
O: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – Book Group Report & Review
N: An assortment of Chekhov plays & short stories – Book Group Report & Review
D: We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – Review

J: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy**
F: Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by EW Hornung * (Report)
M: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
A: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson**  (Report)
M:Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Report)
J: The Jew’s Beech by Annette Von Droste-Hulshoff Review ***
J: The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas ** – Review
A: Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd – Review
S: The Dinner by Herman Koch Review
O: The Weir by Conor McPherson Report
N: Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children’s Crusade – A Duty-dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut Report
D: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R L Stevenson

J: Selections from Complete Ghost Stories by M R James
F: Riders by Jilly Cooper ***
M: Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder **
A: The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey Chaucer
M: The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge **
J: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray
J: Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
A:Saki, The Complete Short Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) by Saki.
S: City Of Veils by Zoe Ferraris **
O: City of Thieves by David Benioff
N: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion by Ford Maddox Ford
D: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ( (report)

J: Moby Dick (Oxford World’s Classics) by Herman Melville ***
F: All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills **
M: One Day by David Nicholls **
A: True Grit by Charles Portis ***
M: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
J: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday. (Report)
J: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Report) ***
A: Themed reading month – ‘Dystopias’. (Report)
S: The Radleys by Matt Haig (Report)
O: Candide by Voltaire
N: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
D: Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

J: The Moonstone (Oxford World’s Classics) by Wilkie Collins **
F: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler **
M: The Death of Grass (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Christopher ***
A: My Shit Life So Far by Frankie Boyle. (Report) ** (ironically!)
M: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. (Report) **
J: Alice in Time by Penelope Bush
J: The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey
A: Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. Report
S: The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl by Belle de Jour
O: Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. (Report) ***
N: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Le Carre ***
D: Don’t Look Now and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) by Daphne Du Maurier

J: Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
F: Poetry night! cancelled due to snow!
M: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
A: Marching Powder by Rusty Young
M: Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban  ** but a difficult read
J: The Secret Ministry of Frost by Nick Lake
J: As You Like It / Julius Caesar / Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
A: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre ***
S: The New York Trilogy: by Paul Auster **
O: Me Cheeta: The Autobiography by James Lever **
N: What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
D: Dead Until Dark: A True Blood Novel by Charlaine Harris

J: Tokyo Cancelled by Rana Dasgupta *
F: Beowulf (Bilingual Edition) by Seamus Heaney (trans) **
M: The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
A: The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth
M: Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
J: Boy A by Jonathan Trigell ***
J: Mutant Message Down Under: A Woman’s Journey into Dreamtime Australia by Marlo Morgan ** for its awfulness
A: Kim (Oxford World’s Classics) by Rudyard Kipling
S: The Player of Games by Iain M Banks
O: Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
N: 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell **
D: Blindness by Jose Saramago ***

J: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins **
F: Angels and Insects by A S Byatt
M: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver ***
A: Old Filth by Jane Gardam
M: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
J: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
J: The Observations by Jane Harris
A: The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella *
S: The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
O: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
N: Under the Glacier (Vintage International Original) by Halldor Laxness ** but a difficult read
D: Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (Arrow Classic) by Ernest Hemingway **

J: The Crow Road by Iain Banks
F: Acqua Alta by Donna Leon
M: The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad **
A: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
M: Watchmen by Alan Moore / Dave Gibbons **
J: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger **
J: Snow by Orhan Pamuk *
A: The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics) by Mikhail Bulgakov **
S: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
O: Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
N: A Town Like Alice (Vintage Classics) by Nevil Shute
D: The Prestige by Christopher Priest

J: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain *
F: Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
M: Changing Places by David Lodge
A: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming ***
M: Cocaine Nights by J G Ballard
J: Northern Lights (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman
J: Cheri by Colette
A: Flashman and the Dragon (Flashman 10) by George MacDonald Fraser
S: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J K Rowling
O: The Portrait by Iain Pears
N: The Comedians by Graham Greene
D: The 100 Minute Bible

J: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
F: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
M: Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard
A: The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri
M: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebbold
J: Morvern Callar by Alan Warner
J: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
A: Disgrace by J M Coetzee **
S: Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald **
O: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
N: Major Barbara by G B Shaw
D: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings (Penguin Classics by Charles Dickens