Category Archives: Meeting Diary

For the plotting and planning of each meeting.

Longbourn – the book for June

Longbourn by Jo Baker - book cover

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that any book group will eventually end up reading Austen… Or, in our case, something inspired by Austen.

‘If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats,’ Sarah thought, ‘she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.’ It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea.

What: Longbourn by Jo Baker
When: Thursday, 12th May. Book discussion starts at 18:30, but people start rocking up from 6pmish to grab food etc.
(note, it’s a Thursday this month, thanks to Stories Aloud).
Where: the beer garden of the Red Lion (unless the weather is horrible, in which case back the FFTMC we will go).

The June meeting – when and what?

So we need to decide two things – what do we read to discuss and June, and when shall we have the discussion.

Book choices =
Diddakoi, Rumer Godden
Longbourn, Jo Baker

When (as Short Stories Aloud has gazumped our usual day of Tue 10th) =
Thur 12th
Mon 16th
Wed 18th

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, Twitter, or on FaceBook.

Before I Go to Sleep – book for May

Before I Go to Sleep cover

Described as “An exceptional thriller. It left my nerves jangling for hours after I finished the last page” (and judging by the cover), I think the book we’re going to discuss in May is going to leave me in a gibbering wreck, sleeping with the lights on. Perfect.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson.

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life.

When: Tuesday 13th May 2014. Group starts talking books from 18:30, but get there from 18:00 for food and general gossip.
Where: TBC at this stage – suggestions here or in the FB group

Life After Life – the book for April

Life After Life cover image

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life‘ by Kate Atkinson, follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. Prepare to wrap your head around multiple timelines and get ready to discuss a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

When: Tuesday 15th April, 6.30pm (people are usually there from 6pm to eat food and gossip)
Where: TBC (suggestions on FB please!)

Awesome Sauce!!!!! aka, the book for March

Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman

Hadley Freeman might just have the answers to life’s trickiest questions, such as: why does the funny girl in the film never get the guy? Can you read a women’s magazine without damaging your brain? And should you ever buy Hello Kitty knickers? Of course you shouldn’t! Why are you even asking that? With sage advice, some very helpful lists and a killer dance routine to Patrick Swayze’s ‘She’s Like the Wind’, Hadley is here to show you just how awesome life as a modern lady could be.

Do we agree? Read the book and come to the March meeting to find out.

When: Tuesday 11th March
Where: TBC (suggestions on FB please!)

More Than This – February Meeting

More Than This by Patrick Ness
More Than This, by award-winning Patrick Ness, is a tense thriller and an impressively challenging and philosophical book for young adults

I don’t really want to give any more information, as I don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns…

Read, enjoy (or not), and be prepared to discuss at our next meeting.

When: Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 18:30
Where: As ever, Far From the Madding Crowd (tables reserved from 6ish, under the name of the group, so if you want to get there a bit early and grab food you can).

Festive Frolics in the Snow

cover of Let It Snow

You know what we’re going to be doing this yuletide? Curling up by the fire with a good book. And Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle wants to be that book!

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista. A trio of today’s bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – brings all the magic of holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

When: Tuesday 14th January, 18:30
Where: Far From the Madding Crowd (tables reserved from 6ish, under the name of the group, so if you want to get there a bit early and grab food you can).

PS. The book is 20% off at Blackwells right now 😉

Winter Read: Erasmus Hobart


For December, we are going on a travel through time to uncover the truth about Robin Hood in Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow.

Robin Hood was a crook! But was he as good a crook as the legends suggest? That’s what Erasmus Hobart – school teacher, history fanatic, time-traveller – wants to find out. In this, his first adventure, Erasmus takes his time-travelling privy back to mediaeval Nottingham in his quest for knowledge. But with homicidal knights, amorous female outlaws and mischievous squirrels complicating his investigation, will he uncover the truth in time to get back and mark 4A’s history homework?

The blurb goes on to say “Andrew Fish brings a new slant to the classic legend. Erasmus Hobart is the perfect new adventurer for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett“.

What do you think? Read it and come to the meeting in December to find out what the rest of us thought.

When: Tuesday, December 10th, 19:30 (note the slightly later start – we expect a later finish as well).
Where: La Tasca at the Castle. Tapas and drinks and fun, guaranteed.
How do I get a copy?: email the group/use the contact form and Cas will arrange 🙂

As well as the usual book group chatter, this will be a festive party type event, with fun and frolics aplenty. We might even be able to get Beth and Polly to do a Strictly reenactment. Who knows?!

Also, just FYI, I (Cas) am incapable of saying the word “squirrel”. It’s a thing. Don’t judge me. Apparently squirrels feature heavily in this story. This could be a problem when it comes to discussing the book…

The art of psychopath-spotting…

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson - cover
Our November read is probably going to make us look at some of the people in our life in a totally different way…

The Pyschopath Test follows author Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness. Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting.

When: Tuesday 12th November, 18:30
Where: Far From the Madding Crowd (tables reserved from 6ish, under the name of the group, so if you want to get there a bit early and grab food you can 🙂 )

Spooky Read: Hound of the Baskervilles

hound of the baskervilles

What better way to celebrate Halloween than to discuss the classic tale of a monstrous beast roaming the moors, terrorising all in its path, eating people (and, I expect, the odd sheep)? *

Because we were all rather pathetic at the start of October, we we will also talk about The Importance Of Being Blithe. Because it is important to be blithe. And bonny.

When: Tuesday 29th October, 18:30
Where: The Jam Factory

* the management takes no responsibility for nightmares caused by reading of Sherlock’s** adventures on Dartmoor.

** the management will not hold it against you if you decide to picture Benedict Cumberbatch in the role. Or Robert Downey Jr. if that’s what’s floats your boat. We are all human, after all.