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.
Benfleet/local library situation. A nominal charge has been mentioned as an option for keeping the libraries open longer term and most seemed to think that this could be acceptable. I don’t know myself as the charge could be considerable, making it not worth while using the library at all. No doubt this will 'unfold' over the next year or so.
Group News and Reviews
Next read for April 2020
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This is a book about slavery from the Gold Coast to Mississippi. Write up is superb so looking forward to reading it.
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.
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.
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.
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
This was a story based on a real life experience about a married man who wishes to be a woman and eventually has major surgery to bring this about. An odd read in many ways and it didn’t “get going” until about halfway through. It certainly wasn’t hated but as I say ODD.
The Lives and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton
Enjoyed by everyone except one person who did not like it at all. The rest of us found it hilarious and laughed out loud at his antics. Graham was/is quite promiscuous and some writing was very explicit. Get over that and it was pure joy.
Watermelon Man The Reckoning by Peter Norman
This author is a local man and ex police officer. We all read the book and found it interesting.
I Can’t Begin To Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan.
Amazing tale of espionage and working with the underground in Denmark during WW2. Really enjoyed by majority. Just one not too keen, but did read the whole book.
Phenomenal bravery and phenomenal treachery was written about and we learnt an awful lot. For example, how the staff interpreting the messages by radio were able to distinguish between different operators thereby being able to tell if the radio had been intercepted by the Nazis.
It also appeared that lots and lots and lots of Danish were able to keep their “heads down” and wait till end of war. It was wondered whether they had possibly come from Germany originally and thought they could live with that regime when hostilities had ceased. Don’t know. Just don’t know.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Had a very lively meeting today. The story centered around a famous 17th century painting which was stolen from an exhibition.
This novel was enjoyed in the main by 3 people, hated by one, disliked by one and found hard going by 2. Yes, most enjoyed the story, but everyone found the author’s descriptions of certain things to be exasperating - enough to make you skip large passages of text.
The descriptions of when the main character was caught up in an explosion, when this person described getting the painting back after having it stolen and the love he felt for his mother who died were exquisite however. The love for a dog by the two main young men was also described very well. Most members felt they were going to enjoy the book at the beginning, but were bogged down by “adjectives “.
I do not think anyone will be pursuing reading any more from the author!
The Lie by Helen Dunmore.
This novel is about the tragedy where young men return from the trenches of WW1, physically scarred and mentally ill. Daniel has returned to his native Cornwall and is considered “lucky” as so many have not returned. His mother has died and he is homeless.
A local elderly woman allows him to scratch a living from her land, but makes him promise that he won’t involve doctors when she is dying; a promise that causes him to lie to everyone. We all enjoyed this book and found it thought-provoking. We discussed the novel at length and also war, especially WW1.
Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
Had our usual meeting and had a good chat and then got down to discussing Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming.
Myself and four others enjoyed this autobiography. Very sad as it covered child abuse and mental health problems in adulthood.
Not enjoyed by all. As it jumped from past to present, not everyone enjoys this format.
I did not find it difficult as it clearly stated what years were being written about.
Two people just do not like biographies.
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
Most people liked the book but found it rather odd. It jumped about in time all the time, which can be very confusing. We could not understand how such a dysfunctional family could survive and could not understand what the author was getting at. Weird but compelling really summed it up. One person did not enjoy the book at all