Book Reading & Armchair Critics
|Facilitator:||Christine Lovelady||07926 698563|
|Venue & time:||Leigh Miners||1pm - 3pm||1st Monday in month|
Our June meeting was again done via technology and we were set the task of reading a book by an Irish writer, however due to a lack of access to libraries, we relaxed the criteria. One member is able to receive digital books from Bolton library services, perhaps we should be petitioning WIgan to offer the same? A number of us were able to follow the brief and Bron chose Anne Enright's 'The Gathering' which she found disappointing and predictable. Kath also read this book, finding it miserable and hard to discern where fact and fantasy overlapped. Is modern fiction too introspective and does it fail to amuse, entertain and carry us to other places? Kath read 'Grown Ups' by Marian Keyes, the story of the Casey family who spend a lot of time together. They are a close knit bunch until one of the wives has an accident and begins to spill the beans on their secrets. Kath said it was an easy read and a welcome change to the thrillers she has been reading recently. Chris' offering is 'Conversations with Friends' by the highly acclaimed Sally Rooney. It tells the tale of two young women who were lovers at high school and who rage against the world. They are drawn in to the orbit of an older woman and her husband. The book is essentially about the bad choices of youth and though well written, Chris found the characters unlikeable and the plotline unlikely. Maybe we are too removed from the world of the millennials, the book's intended audience, but the hype around Rooney is strange and you have to ask will she endure like Edna O'Brien? And that's a nice segue in to our next books, both by O'Brien. Firstly we have 'In the Forest', read by Fumiyo, which is based on real events that shook Ireland. It tells the story of the violent and brutal murder of a young girl, her baby and a priest and it is not an easy read. O'Brien handles the subject matter with skill and keen observation and thereby avoids sensationalism. The second offering is 'Girl', presumably set in Nigeria and is based around the schoolgirls abducted and terrorised by Boko Haram. Janet L. recounts the story of Maryam, the narrator who stands for all of the girls and how she is forced in to marriage, is raped. bears a child and who escapes. She is later reunited with her family but this is not the positive experience she had hoped. Janet said that some scenes are graphic and leave you wondering how human life can end up counting for nothing and in spite of the hard topic, the book is a good read.
Rita K read 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a real favourite of book clubs across the land. One morning Harold sets off on the simple task of posting a letter and ends up walking from one end of the country to the other. He firmly believes that as long as he keeps walking he can save the life of someone from his past. Rita laughed and cried. Norma spent May in the sunshine of her garden and by all accounts consumed a number of books. She mentions the author Catherine Hyde-Ryan and also Alan Bennett's 'A Life Like Other People's' and confesses to reading it in the authors rather distinctive voice! Chris can recommend Jessie Burton's 'The Confessions', Burton also wrote 'The Miniaturist' which was serialised on BBC TV in 2017.
Some members availed themselves of the opportunity to 'go' to the Hay Literary and Arts Festival which was available for free online this year. Bron caught Hilary Mantel talking about her latest book 'The Mirror and The Light'. Chris was very busy and watched a Turkish writer, now settled in UK, called Elif Shafak and was so inspired that she even ordered her latest book and she has read Shafak's 'Three Daughters of Eve' which recounts the lives of three young Muslim women trying to make sense of their faith and the world. Chris also heard Anne Enright discuss her new book but best of all was the interview with Roddy Doyle which was very funny and she's pre-ordered his book 'Love' which is due out in October. As a point of interest, you can pay £10 for Hay online that gets you a year's access to this year's events and those of previous years; it is well worth the investment!
And so to July's meeting... We were to be reading the same book but that is not possible. Chris sent out a quiz based on books with eponymous titles and has suggested that we read one of those for our virtual sharing in July. There are 33 from which to choose!
|Dates for your Diary|
|Mon Aug 3rd||A classic by a male writer|
|Mon Sep 7th||A genre you would not normally choose|
|Mon Oct 5th||To be chosen and a volunteer to make the presentation|
|Mon Nov 2nd||A book by an African or Asian author|
|Mon Dec 7th||To be chosen and a volunteer make the presentation|