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).
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) =
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, Twitter, or on FaceBook.
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
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!)
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!)
It hit me, rather suddenly, in the midst of our conversation about More Than This and gender/lgbt/feminism/etc, that we have read eight books so far, and not one has been by a female author.
I nearly drowned myself in my cup of tea then and there (after handing in my feminist credentials).
Then I figured that this was a bit of an over reaction. And the books we’ve read so far have been enjoyable and weren’t deliberately chosen because they were by men, and I’m not the only one picking books, and we read across a range of genres so it’s not like we’re pigeon holing ourselves…
But it still left a vaguely uncomfortable feeling in my gut and made me think of the ratio of male to female books reviewed in the big press, or on the big prize shortlists, or the many many other examples of the disparity of gender representation in literature.
In order to assuage my guilt (appropriately felt or otherwise) for discussion in March, (and probably for the next few months till I feel less guilty), we will be focusing on female authors.
Fortunately, there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from. So, help us decide –
Cast your vote in the comments below, or on twitter, and help choose what we should read next.
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).
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 😉
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…
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 🙂 )