We found much to talk about in November after reading The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. This concerned two boys of very different background, culture and class who meet as schoolboys and whose lives are then intertwined, enabling an enthralling exploration of family dynamics and very different personalities. A completely different topic engaged us in November when we chose Conclave by Robert Harris, a fictional account of a papal election. It is a clever writer who can create “a page-turner” out of what is basically a repetitious plot. December being a busy month, we opted for Bill Bryson’s Road to Little Dribbling, a revisiting of Notes from a Small Island written as a young man. We were somewhat disappointed to find it lacking the lighter touch of his earlier book because he is now more critical of modern life. Is this change of perspective inevitable with the passage of time?