Benfleet

Book Club

Interest Group Contact

Please contact Pat Cluness using the Book Club email contact link.

If this Interest Group is full and you would like another created, please contact the Interest Groups Coordinator.

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Local Libraries 7 July 2020:
I’ve heard from library that they are opening again soon and that the books ordered prior to lock down should be available very soon. Pat.

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Group News and Reviews

Due to the Coronavirus the group will not be physically meeting. However, the book and reviews will continue on schedule via email.

Next read for review by 10 August 2020
Each member will read a book of our choice (or something suggested by another person) and report back in early July giving a review of the book.

Regards, Pat.

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Previous Reads

JULY 2020 Individual reviews of each book chosen by the group member.

Patronising Bastards by Quentin Letts
A re-read of a book originally heard about on television.

The reader has always thought this author to be a disagreeable person. However he covered a multitude of subjects, Politics, Royalty, Religion, Education, Health and lots of his views were thought to be quite acceptable. As the book entered the halfway point his views were hard to take on board and quite unpleasant. Nothing was exempt from criticism and it certainly covered views about all political parties.

Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory
This tale was about Henry VIII. Lady Margaret Pole tells her story of how Henry grew from a lovely little boy into a tyrannical King. She felt threatened, so kept quiet but her head ended up on the block for being guilty of being from the Plantagenet Royal Line.

Reader found this book fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed

Lunching at Laura’s by Claire Rayner
This is about a woman who runs a Hungarian restaurant in Soho and a Canadian who has come to London to trace his family. The restaurant is owned by a family trust set up by Laura’s grandparents and the story follows what happens when property developers become interested in the area.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
This is an account of a psychotherapist’s attempts to get a patient to speak again after being accused and charged with the murder of her husband.

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that therapist and patient both had very abusive childhoods and are both really damaged. The woman eventually starts to speak and gives her account of the murder and what led up to it. Running alongside is the therapist’s account of his personal life.
The final chapter reveals a final twist that reader didn’t see coming despite clues.

The reader enjoyed this book

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
This book had been passed to reader by her grandson who had been recommended it by his English teacher.

It is about two teenage boys. David, who clearly wants to be a girl but has not shared his problems with anyone and Leo, born a boy who soon realised he was a boy in a girls body and is receiving counselling and awaiting gender reassignment when he comes of age.
The book is about their friendship and their struggles with acceptance.

No happy endings. Readers have to make up their own minds. Found to be overwhelmingly sad at times but mixed with humour. A very good read

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J K Rowling)
A great murder mystery with lots of twists and turns. Gripping and in-put-downable.

Really, really enjoyed

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JUNE 2020 Individual reviews of each book chosen by the group member.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Suffered for O Levels and reread. Didn’t enjoy but did appreciate Austen’s observation and humour

When All Is Said And Done by Anne Griffin [thought that was an ABBA song?]
Reminiscences of an elderly Irish man who is talking in his head to his son in America. Found to be very believable and moving

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
A reread of a book read by the group approximately 5 years ago. Not enjoyed by many, but it fascinated reader then as now. The story exposed the horrors of the cultural system that allowed young girls to be sold and brought up to be solely for the pleasure of men. Repulsive. Despite above, it was enjoyed

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MAY 2020 Individual reviews of each book chosen by the group member.

A Lady’s Diary by Rachel Johnson
This book covers the time when author was asked to edit The Lady magazine and try to increase circulation and bring up to date. She had to deal with sabotage and bad feeling and had a battle on her hands most days. I did enjoy but it was tedious in parts, due I think to diary format. I would not, “not recommend” this book.

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
An historical story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville and later wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.

The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Babs H Deal.
The story began with the discovery of a baby’s skeleton within the walls of a sorority house. It continues with the the events of a group of women who stayed at the house for a summer course and long vacation 20 years previously Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommended

I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May
Takes place in Outer Hebrides. Descriptions of scenery are magnificent. A married couple who live there make highly regarded tweed and are famous for this the world over. He is killed in a car crash with another woman in Paris and wife believes that he was being unfaithful to her. Really enjoyed

Tidelands by Philippa Gregory
Historical fiction in era of Charles 1st when he was eventually beheaded. The story revolves around a very poor widow with two children who becomes infatuated with a young Catholic priest. A good read and highly recommended

Gower Street by Claire Rayner
This author was new to the reader and she felt it showed unexpected depths with the subjects of homeless children and petty crime on the streets of London in early 1800s. A first novel in a series of twelve. An interesting introduction to the reader of this novelist and a recommended read.

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APRIL 2020
Homegoing by Yoa Gyasi
Everyone found the book hard going. The style of writing gave rise to confusion and spoiled the narrative. The differing names of people and where they fitted in he story was hard to remember.

One person enjoyed the book but was horrified by the cruelty. One person found the book choppy and uncomfortable. One person has not quite finished the book, but has found it an interesting read and felt that everyone should read about the horrors of slavery. One person was affected by the repulsive atrocities but felt she was aware of these whilst being glad she has read the book Two persons recognised the atrocities but were affected by the atrocities inflicted by the black communities on their own people

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March 2020
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
A strange novel for me. Very odd in parts and so many adjectives made it a tedious read in parts. However, others found it quite enjoyable and felt that the issue of AIDS was dealt with very well. What was it all about I wondered, but others did not have a problem. A 14 year old in love with her uncle who died of AIDS and his partner who got the blame incorrectly. She then fell in love with this person. Possibly extreme hero worship. Definitely a hit with some.

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February 2020
In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott
This book was an autobiography about her life growing up in the cult known as The Plymouth Brethren. Controversial subject but the book group basically had the same feelings. Clever, intelligent people, suicide very common, no place for equality especially with women - why oh why does it happen?

The punishments inflicted on those who questioned or deviated from the rules were phenomenal e.g a woman separated from her dearly loved sister, whole families ostracised, unbelievable cruelty.

It was a very thought-provoking book, causing anger but also a fascination with something so different to our own lives and upbringing.

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January 2020
Daughters by Elizabeth Buchan
A very ordinary book, soon forgotten. Quite enjoyed but not overly so. One person found it boring. Covered issues of step families, betrayal, extended families etc etc etc. We went on to discuss politics, the royal family Christmas, families etc etc etc.

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More Group Pages
Badminton1 Badminton2 Book Club Card and Board Games
Comparative Religion Culinary Experience Darts Discussion 1
Discussion 2 Family History Flower Arranging French
Garden Visits Gardening Grumpy Old Women Knit & Stitch
Local Interest London Theatre Lunch Group Meditation
Naval & Military History Outings Paper Craft Photography
Scrabble Sewing Singing Spanish
Ten Pin Bowling Walking (5 miles+) Walking 5 miles+ Group 2 Walking upto 5 Miles
Wildlife Women in History
More Group Pages
Badminton1 Badminton2
Book Club Card and Board Games
Comparative Religion Culinary Experience
Darts Discussion 1
Discussion 2 Family History
Flower Arranging French
Garden Visits Gardening
Grumpy Old Women Knit & Stitch
Local Interest London Theatre
Lunch Group Meditation
Naval & Military History Outings
Paper Craft Photography
Scrabble Sewing
Singing Spanish
Ten Pin Bowling Walking (5 miles+)
Walking 5 miles+ Group 2 Walking upto 5 Miles
Wildlife Women in History