Benfleet

2016 Bookclub Reviews

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10th December 2016
Have just read Oranges and Sunshine. A reasonable read about a harrowing subject. It dealt with the dreadful deportation of young children to, mainly, Australia but also to other countries. A dreadful business, supported by government, Churches and the voluntary sector. Unfortunately, it was sometimes tedious to read as it was so repetitive but I am so glad I have read it. Most of group enjoyed the book, one saying it was better than she thought it would be.

Next book is Cider With Rosie. Not received with open arms but I'm sure we'll all have a go.

Margaret remains our esteemed hostess.

Have a brilliant Christmas and New Year

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24th October 2016
Had our usual meeting for book club yesterday. We first discussed Grace and Mary by Melvyn Bragg as our numbers were so depleted last meeting. Generally considered to be a disappointing read by most members.

We then went on to discuss Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. A strange read for me but absolutely loved by two members. One person hated it and the rest thought it okay. This novel dealt with rape, murder, revenge and bizarrely heaven. I was looking for some hidden meaning as it came highly recommended and has been made into a film but I could not find any. We did ascertain that the author had been raped and this perhaps was a reflection of her experiences.

We are now reading Oranges and Sunshine which is about the transport to Australia of very young children and their subsequent treatment. I am desperately searching for a happy book for us all to read. I promise!

I had an email from a person who was running a book club with her U3A and came across your postings when she was searching for information regarding a certain book. She has suggested a book for us to read which I did order a year ago with no result but will try again. She could be a useful resource for us and obviously she is able to access our titles from what you post online. Well done Neil. (WedEd: You praise me too much as I post what you send me - Well done Pat!!)

Margaret King, once again, was an excellent hostess. She has been in hospital twice for things since our last meeting, but as she says, only minor issues. Indomitable as I've said before.

(WebEd: Happy reading to all U3A book clubs!)

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19th September 2016
Back to Book Club after an August break, but depleted by half due to various reasons.

Have just read Grace and Mary by Melvyn Bragg. I really expected to love this book but was very disappointed as it was only "okay". Lots of metaphors and adjectives did lose me at times but it did highlight certain social mores e.g. Alzheimer's care and splitting up of siblings after death of one parent. Most were dissatisfied at end of read, but some "quite enjoyed".

Now reading Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Hope it generates lots of discussion at our next meeting.

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25th July 2016
We had our usual meeting today and very enjoyable it was too. Margaret is feeling a bit better since her fall but she is experiencing some aches and pains still. She still made our tea and played a vital part in the discussion.

The book was Storms of War by Kate Williams. I absolutely loved it and most others did when they "got into it". This novel covered many issues, one obviously being the horrors the men on the front experienced during WW1 and one criticism was that the same issues come up all the time in these books. I feel they have to and most agreed with me. One person did not really enjoy the book saying it was "okay". Other issues covered were internment, class structure, homosexuality, the absolute innocence and naivety of young upper class girls (absolute ignorance of the facts of life due to narrow education) and the exploitation of young women to care for parents. Some issues were not resolved but possibly covered in the 2nd book of trilogy which I will order from the library.

Our next book is Grace and Mary by Melvyn Bragg. Looking forward to it.

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22nd June 2016
We had our usual meeting and discussed our most recent read The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. This is an historical novel based on the Wars of the Roses and the Princes in the tower.

I had to check up the history and it seemed okay in the main apart from the princes where artistic licence was used. Most people seemed to enjoy the read as a light romance. The witchcraft that was described was irritating but of course it did go on.

The next book is The Storms of War by Kate Williams. This is a first novel by a respected historian and commentator. I personally am really looking forward to it although I did hear a mumbled "more war". We'll see.

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16th May 2016
We have just read The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. An odd book in many ways. I kept thinking that something profound was being said and I was missing the point. Only 6 of our 8 members were able to attend the meeting. 3 really loved the book and laughed throughout, 1 who did not dislike it and did laugh many times but thought it odd, and 2 who really hated it.

It led to lots of discussion and a good meeting. Very enjoyable.

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April 2016
The book we had just read was In Love and War by Alex Preston.

I chose this as it had been a Radio 4 holiday/bedtime read. How on earth it got classified as that is a total mystery to us all.

It chronicled the adult life of a fascist homosexual who went to Italy on the orders of his father who had discovered his gay life, and who became throughout his time there as a presenter of a fascist propaganda radio programme, becoming a rampant heterosexual left winger. I found it amazing but only me. The rest thought that this was quite believable as he was only trying out sexuality and politics and changed his mind. This was not a chap who crossed the floor from Conservatives to Labour. This was a FASCIST. Hey ho! The Mosleys and the Mitfords and Alice Keppel were all mentioned but it was definitely a work of fiction.

A difficult read but the brutal horrors were all exposed and well written. Not a bedtime read though.

Quite enjoyed by 3, not enjoyed by 4 and hated by 1.

Next read is The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. An international best seller that has taken quite a while to become available to the book club. Looking forward to it.