Tag Archives: oxford

Black Chalk


Black Chalk by Christopher Yates promises to suitably twist our brains and make us unable to look at our hometown in the same way ever again.

One game. Six students. Five survivors. It was only ever meant to be a game. A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results. Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

What day? Tuesday 21st April (everyone working in publishing = London Book Fair = pushing things back a week)
What time? Please all start gathering for food and drinks and general chat from 18:00, with book discussion starting at 18:30 prompt
? Still deciding this! Suggestions in the comments/twitter/the FB group please!

Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates


Welcome to the Jazz Age and Lady Detectives with difference! Say hello to Phryne Fisher, in Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood.

Bored socialite Phryne Fisher leaves the tedium of the London season for adventure in Australia! Tea-dances in West End hotels, weekends in the country with guns and dogs…Phryne Fisher – she of the grey-green eyes and diamante garters – is rapidly tiring of the boredom of chit-chatting with retired colonels and foxtrotting with weak-chinned wonders. Instead, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective – on the other side of the world! As soon as she books into the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, drug smuggling rings and corrupt cops…not to mention erotic encounters with beautiful Russian ballet star Sasha de Lisse; England’s green and pleasant land just can’t compete with these new, exotic pleasures!

What day? Wednesday (not Tuesday, but WEDNESDAY) 11th March 2015
What time? you know the drill – gather from 18:00, talk about the book from 18:30
Where? The Chequers

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This!

Stop What You're Doing and Read This cover

February implores us to Stop What You’re Doing and Read This!

So we will.

Reading provides a unique kind of pleasure and no-one should live without it. This title tells us about the experience of reading, why access to books should never be taken for granted, how reading transforms our brains, and how literature can save lives.

What day? Tuesday 10th February 2015
What time? as always, people gather from 18:00 and discussion starts at 18:30
Where? The Red Lion

The Rosie Project


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is going to be the first book of 2015.

A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?

What day?: Tuesday 13th January 2015
What time?: discussion starts at 18:30 – get there from 18:00 to order food and have a general gossip
Where? O’Neills on George Street

Beside Ourselves with Joy!

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves cover

Polly’s to blame thank for our next book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. One of the Man Booker 2014 shortlist, I’m rather excited. It even comes with proper notes for bookgroups at the end, so we can pretend to be organised and have a “proper” meeting and everything!

Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life. There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary’s trouble. So now she’s telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it’s a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice. It’s funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you’re telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern – it’s pretty hard to resist – don’t worry. One of the few studies Rosemary doesn’t quote says that spoilers actually enhance reading.

We will also be having our Xmas celebration at this meeting, so it will be over food. Details to follow.

Date: Tuesday 9th December
Where: The White Rabbit
When: 18:30 kick-off

Eleven Cubed

Cover of Eleven by Mark Watson

So, on the 11th day of the 11th month, the bookclub shall read… Eleven by Mark Watson. (See what I did there, with the clever post title and everything?)

This is the story of radio DJ Xavier Ireland, who by night offers words of wisdom to sleepless Londoners and by day keeps himself to himself. That is, until a one-of-a-kind encounter forces him to confront his own biggest regret. Meanwhile, a single moment sparks a chain of events that will affect eleven lives across the city, with unstoppable consequences…Eleven is a tale of love, loss, Scrabble and six degrees of separation, asking whether the choices we don’t make affect us just as powerfully as those we do.

Why this book? Well, because Mark Watson will be one of the authors at November’s Short Stories Aloud, that’s why.

Day: Tuesday, 11th November
Time: 18:30 to start the discussion, but as ever get there any time from 18:00 to start on the food/drinks/gossip
Where: Far From the Madding Crowd

If you could confirm your likely attendance on facebook/in the comments here/on email/in a text that would be great 🙂

Listen to the Call of the Cuckoo!!!

So we slightly sucked in September. Bad us. October will be better, I promise!

Cuckoos Calling Cover

We shall be reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith for October.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger …A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Date: Tuesday 21st October 2014
Time: 18:30 (though gather from 18:00 to eat food and gossip)
Where: TBC

August – PARTY TIME (and Lolly Willowes)

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Wow, this will mark our one year anniversary. I feel proud of us for keeping things going. We are going to be reading Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Lolly Willowes is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster when her adored father dies, leaving her dependent upon her brothers and their wives. After twenty years of self-effacement as a maiden aunt, she decides to break free and moves to a small Bedfordshire village. Here, happy and unfettered, she enjoys her new existence nagged only by the sense of a secret she has yet to discover. An instant success on its publication in 1926, LOLLY WILLOWES is Sylvia Townsend Warner’s first and most magical novel. Deliciously wry and inviting, it was her piquant plea that single women find liberty and civility, a theme that would later be explored by Virginia Woolf in ‘A Room of One’s Own’.

When: Tuesday, 12th August 2014, 18:30
Where: TBC – ideas in the comments/on facebook/ on twitter/ on email. Dinner would be nice, but (if it’s sunny), it would also be nice to be outside. And have round-ish tables so we can all talk. Two suggestions have been the Red Lion and the Slug and Lettuce (it’s replaced the Living Room at the Castle).

Jazz-Age July: The Other Typist

The Other Typist cover

New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition. In a police precinct on the lower East Side young typist Rose Baker coolly records the confessions of killers and gangsters. But when a new typist arrives – the captivating Odalie – Rose finds a true partner in crime.

What: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
What day: Tuesday, 8th July
What time: start to gather, get drinks and food in from 18:00, discussion to start at 18:30
Where: the beer garden of the Red Lion again (weather permitting, or off to FFTMC we go!)