Book Club

Book Group, Book Club, WI Book clubOne of the most popular requests when forming our Women’s Institute was to form a Book Group.

We will meet separately to the main meeting, on the third Wednesday every two months at 7.30pm. The dates are:

20th March 2013

15th May 2013

17th July 2013

18th September 2013

20th November 2013

Venue – Pavilion Bar, Ruskin – follow us on Facebook

Book Club – 18th September 2013

WIADMIN : September 24, 2013 8:48 am : Book Club

This month we discussed Sophie Hannah’s Little Face, her first psychological thriller featuring Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. A novel which some of us at first, thought was set in America from the descriptions of the grand house and health club. It transpired that the drama was to unfold in the leafy suburbia of south England. Not wanting to to give away any spoilers, here is the blurb:

When Alice Fancourt returns home after having been out for the first time without her two-week-old daughter Florence, she insists that the baby she finds at home, in the care of her husband David, is not their daughter but a child she has never seen before. David denies it, claiming that the baby is Florence and that Alice has gone mad. Is she crazy, or is David lying, and if so, why would he do such a thing? And where is the real Florence? Alice has no proof, but she needs the police to believe her, and quickly. While they wait for the DNA test that will settle the matter, valuable time is being lost, and David’s behaviour towards Alice becomes increasingly threatening and sinister. Can Alice make the police listen to her before it’s too late?

It was a clever and sinister novel with lots of twists and counter twists to keep you guessing until the end.

Sophie is talking about her books this Thursday 26th September, 7,30pm at Central Library, St Helens. An opportunity to hear about her thrillers and also her new commission by the Agatha Christie estate to write a new Hercule Poirot novel.

The second book we discussed was The White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. Set in Trinidad, it had an engaging back to front plot and was an insightful glimpse into the history and turmoil of a country breaking free from colonial rule and finding it’s way to democracy. The backdrop of the changes and unrest were mirrored in the lives of the main characters and Roffey admits that her own mother was the inspiration of the woman riding around on her green bicycle. If that sounds a bit too dry and serious then the blurb brings alive the story by billing it as an unforgettable love story:

An unforgettable love story, brimming with passion and politics, set over fifty years in Trinidad – a place at times enchanting, and at times highly dangerous . . .

When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England as young newlyweds, they have with them just a couple of suitcases and Sabine’s prized green bicycle. Their intention is to stay for not more then three years, but George falls in love with the island. Sabine, however, is ill at ease with the racial segregation and unrest in her new home, and takes solace in the freedom of her green bicycle.

George and Sabine become more entangled in their life on the island – in all its passion and betrayals – and Sabine’s bicycle takes her places she wouldn’t otherwise go. One day George make a discovery that forces him to realise that extent of the secrets between them, and is seized by an urgent, desperate need to prove his love for her – with tragic consequences.

The third book was Simon Mawer’s The Girl who Fell From the Sky. Unfortunately only one member had read this book, but she did recommend it. Although it was not a particularly easy read it was thought provoking and worthwhile.

Barely out of school and doing her bit for the war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that marks her out from all the others – she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the curious Mr Potter who calls her to an interview in an anonymous office in London. Potter is a recruiting officer for the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. So it is that Marian finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a school for spies, and ultimately, parachuting from an RAF bomber into the South-West of France to join the WORDSMITH resistance network.

However, there is more to Marian’s mission than meets even the all-seeing eyes of the SOE. Before long a friend from the past returns and it soon seems that Marian could hold the key to the future of the whole war effort. A fascinating blend of fact and fiction, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is an old-fashioned adventure about a woman who did the most extraordinary things when the ordinary was not enough.

We were rather low on numbers this month, with only 3 members attending book club. For the next discussion on Wednesday November 20th we’ve chosen a couple of lighter books, which we hope will appeal to more of you. They have both been chosen for the Richard and Judy Autumn reads list too, so should be easily available in the usual 2 for 1 outlets.

The first is by the author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach, her latest novel Heartbreak Hotel

After the far-flung charms of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach moves to the Welsh countryside in her hilarious new comedy. When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast. Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle. But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…

The second book is The Husband’s Secretby Lianne Moriarty.

From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.

If you have any comments or questions about any of the books or the book club then please leave them below.

Happy Reading!


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Book Club – 17th July 2013 – Jackie Kay – Red Dust Road

WIADMIN : July 23, 2013 2:46 pm : Book Club

After a break for the Book Club since March, we had a lot to discuss at our last meeting. Eight members met to discuss Red Dust Road, a memoir by Jackie Kay. The book description sums it up eloquently:

A heart-warming book that answers the question: how do you define “family”?

Once, as a small child, she realizes that her skin is a different color from that of her beloved parents, Jackie Kay embarks on a complicated and humorous journey to treasure the adoptive family that chose her, track down her birth parents—her Scottish Highland mother and Nigerian father—and embrace her unexpected and remarkable life.

In a book shining with warmth, humor, and compassion, she discovers that inheritance is about more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells and that our internal landscapes are as important as those through which we move.

Taking the reader from Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, Red Dust Road is revelatory, redemptive, and courageous, unique in its voice and universal in its reach. It is a heart-stopping story of parents and siblings, friends and strangers, belonging and beliefs, biology and destiny, and love.

The overall consensus was that everyone enjoyed the book and and got a lot from it. The book described Jackie’s childhood as a mixed race adopted child in Scotland and her subsequent journey as an adult to find her birth parents. Jackie’s life hasn’t been an idyllic skip through childhood, she experienced lots of racism, passive and deliberate. However, her adoptive parents equipped Jackie with an amazing ability to see beyond lots of life’s disappointments. The humour and humility throughout the book is very humbling and I think the majority of us who read it felt we had gained a lot from it that will stay with us.

We briefly discussed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Stay Close from the previous cancelled meeting, it was a stretch for our memories to recall the two. The GLPPPS was well received and remembered fondly by those that had read it. Stay Close was a little less memorable. A good page turner, holiday read, but not one with a profound memorable story line.

We discussed lots of our recent good reads and settled on the summer read choices. If you would like to join in the next discussion on 18th September we are reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey and/or Little Face by Sophie Hannah. If anyone is up for a third bonus option at the request of some of the super fast readers we also thought The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Simon Mawer looked like a good read.












Next meeting: Wednesday 18th September, 7.30 pm Pavilion Bar, Ruskin

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Book Club: 20th March 2013 – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

WIADMIN : May 13, 2013 9:56 am : Book Club

Two mouthfuls of titles and two very different books. We started with The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, by Kate Summerscale a book that polarised views within the group. A non-fiction book detailing the true life crime of a murder in Wiltshire in 1860. The author had obviously done a huge amount of research into the subject, and none of the detail was left out. Some felt that it was like reading a thesis rather than a book for pleasure.

The blurb: “It is a summer’s night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks. The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects. The murder provokes national hysteria. The thought of what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes – scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing – arouses fear and a kind of excitement. But when Whicher reaches his shocking conclusion there is uproar and bewilderment. A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery – a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.”

Here’s what we thought:

An unusual book that started off well but became frustrating. I really wanted to know “who did it” but even at the end there was no satisfying answer. 2/5 – Val

Enjoyed the basic storyline, but too much attention into other crimes. 2/5 – Pam

An interesting read depicting the era of the day. Went off at a “tangent” in several places but overall enjoyable. Something that I would not normally read. A real ‘mystery’. 4/5 – Mary

I hated this book! So difficult to get trough. A few good quotes in it, but not worth a read. 1/5 – Rhona

Greatly detailed book, containing researched scenarios around a devastating murder of a child. I wouldn’t call it an enjoyable read but can respect and admire the authors skilled writing and ability to weave fact and fiction. 3/5 – Anne

Very detailed and factual. Too hard going and unfortunately didn’t want to finish it – and I didn’t! 1/5 – Morven

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce had a much more positive review from the majority of the group. A sometimes sad, but oftenuplifting account of recently retired Harold on his mission to walk the length of the country to be reunited with an ex work colleague who paid him an act of kindness before she dies.

The blurb: “When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.

He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. 

All he knows is that he must keep walking.

To save someone else’s life.”

Here’s what we thought:

An easy read, and an unusual idea with a good ending. 4/5 – Mary

A gentle read. Really enjoyable, got to know the characters well.  4/5 – Helen

This gets better as the story goes on. A ‘nice’ story, worth a read.  3/5 – Rhona

A really lovely book, although it is a bit of hard work at the beginning, but definitely worth persevering with. Well written characters that draw you into the story. 4/5 – Morven

Our next reading choices are Stay Closeby Harlan Coben and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby Mary Ann Shaffer. We will be meeting on Wednesday 15th May, 7.30pm at the Pavillion Bar, Ruskin to discuss. All welcome, if you have read both, one or none of them.

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Book Club: 16th January 2013 – The Greatcoat and The Snow Child

WIADMIN : January 18, 2013 4:20 pm : Book Club

We had a great turn out for Wednesday’s Book Club. Thank you to Sue M for leading the group and the insightful summary of the evening:

The cold didn’t put us off – after all, we had just read all about Alaska, so it felt almost tropical as we settled down to discuss our choices:

The Greatcoatby Helen Dunmore

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

First we launched into The Greatcoat. The concensus was that it was a good read but hardly groundbreaking. It was a ghost story, but not at all creepy. Most thought the idea of snuggling up to an itchy, smelly greatcoat a bit far fetched! Some elements were more believable though, especially the realistic presentation of post-war society. Terms from the war were used effectively and sparked a curiosity leading to an unexpected bonus for one member who had the opportunity to discuss National Service with a relative who had rarely spoken of this period in his life. There were contrasts in the interpretation of the ending too – always interesting to discuss.

Our ratings:

An interesting and easy read. Not very scary for a ghost story but left you wanting to get to the end to see the outcome. 3/5 – Mary

Didn’t have enough depth to keep me interested. I struggled to get tot know or like the characters and thought more work could have been done on developing the characters to allow some emotional connection for the reader.
2/5 – Sarah

An unusual take on a ‘ghost’ story. Quite a short fast paced read, but great descriptions of World War II airfields and night raids. Enjoyed it!
4/5 – Kath

Couldn’t really get to know the characters or care about them. The coat felt creepy to me. A quick read but not one that I would particularly recommend.
2/5 – Helen

A good tale of 1950′s and wartime life but a poor ghost story – not scary or creepy at all!
2.5/5 – Morven

I think I was in the minority within the group in finding this quite a pleasant read. I thought the Greatcoat was used as a great device to access another time and place. The atmosphere of the air field, the fear and anticipation of the raids was very well portrayed. I agree that further characterisation would have made it a more well rounded read, but the novel also benefitted from the fast paced nature of not being padded out with too much unnecessary detail.
4/5 – Cara

Could have been much more satisfying but I felt the characterisation lacked depth. I wanted to care more about them.
3/5 – Sue

The Snow Child had a more unanimous response. Everyone had thoroughly enjoyed it. The Alaskan landscape was drawn to perfection – its hardships and its beauty in equal portions. Interestingly, there were more parallels: the description of Jack and Mabel’s fresh start in a remote homestead with all its despair and hope rang true for one member whose parents had experienced a similar move to the wilds of Wales. The magical, fairy tale quality of the book was always balanced by the harsh reality and humanity as well as the veracity of the environment. Again, the ending sparked a lively debate – what really happened? No fairy tale ending perhaps, but isn’t that the point? A recommended read!

Fabulous book! A fairy tale set in Alaska. The landscape was the biggest character giving a backdrop to a lovely heartwarming story.
5/5 – Sue

Beautiful story full of hope and I become obsessed with the glimpses of happiness and laughter that developed as the story unfolded. Very descriptive and great characterisations. Highly recommended.
4/5 – Sarah

Breathtakingly beautiful setting. I fell in love with Alaska along with all the characters. A wonderful first novel. I’d highly recommend it.
5/5 – Kath

A lovely read, felt very magical. Really got to know Mabel. Fabulous descriptions of the extreme cold and the desperation that the couple felt.
4/5 – Helen

A book to get lost in! It transported me to a time and a place I knew nothing about beforehand, and I totally fell in love with it all. The characters were brought to life so brilliantly, that I felt as if I was living with them whilst reading it. I’ll be making my own snow child at the first opportunity.
5/5 – Cara

Brilliant fairytale
5/5 – Rhona

The choices for the next discussion are:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fryby Rachel Joyce and/or The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill Houseby Kate Summerscale.

We will meet at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th March – Pavilion Bar, Ruskin, Ruskin Drive, St Helens, WA10 6RP.

We have so many great books suggested each meeting, but obviously can’t choose them all. Here are some that you may wish to take a look at independently.

A Street Cat Named Bob

Go Ask the River

The Sense of an Ending

The Bell Jar (50th Anniversary Edition)

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

The Red Tent

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Book Club: November 2012 – The House of Silk & The Last Lecture

WIADMIN : January 7, 2013 6:17 pm : Book Club

The House of Silk, Book Review, Anthony Horrowitz

We struck out for this month’s choices and went for two books. The first The House of Silkis Anthony Horowitz’s take on a new Sherlock Holmes novel.

“It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a
merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks.

Intrigued by the man’s tale, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston. As the pair delve deeper into the case, they stumble across a whispered phrase ‘the House of Silk’: a mysterious entity and foe more deadly than any Holmes has encountered, and a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society

The majority of members were very positive about the new novel. Admitting that they had never read any of the originals, and being drawn into the mystery very quickly. The discussion led us to conclude that many of the characters had multiple layers and seemingly insignificant details all had a purpose by the end of the novel. For example Holmes asking one character if his wife could swim, resulted in a very significant conclusion and key to unravelling the mystery. Although set circa 100 years ago, many issues within the novel are still as shocking in present day.

A very clever homage to the original texts. The subject matter was rather a shock to me when it was revealed what the House of Silk turned out to be. Loved the discussion of the group, to hear other peoples opinions and interpretations.
Cara – 4/5

Here’s what the other members had to say:

An extremely well written book, true to the original stories re; Sherlock and Watson. Detailed and thought provoking. However I found the interestingly up to date storyline disturbing and unpleasant. Anne - 4/5

This really had the voice of the originals. Great portrayal of Homes and Watson. Deb - 5/5

I think the author felt pressured to stretch a Sherlock Holmes story out to a full novel. The result feels like two stories mixed into one. Which can be a bit confusion. Kate - 3/5

A rip-roaring tale in the style of Sherlock Holmes. Some aspects of the finale were disappointing but overall I really enjoyed the book. Morven-4/5

I thought Horowitz did a good job of keeping the tone and dialect true to the original stories. An easy read, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it . Cathy-3/5

The second book up for discussion was The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch. This book was based on an actual lecture given by Randy Pausch when he knew he had incurable pancreatic cancer. It was a very inspirational look on our childhood dreams and how we should pursue them. Some of us hadn’t actually read the book but had watched the lecture on You Tube here.

A bit cheesy but thought provoking and a few pearls of wisdom. Worth a quick read. Cathy-4/5

I loved this book (and the YouTube video). I found it very uplifting and a chance to evaluate your own life to make changes for the better. Morven-5/5

Lovely legacy for his children. Worth a read. Rhona-4/5

Worth a watch. Deb

Moving and inspiring, a lecture courageously given as a professor comes to face his imminent death at a young age. For me, many messages are available having watched the lecture on YouTube. You will take from this what you need to. Anne-5/5

Uplifting, inspiring and scattered with good advice. Very moving read/watch. Kath-3/5

As the choice of two books worked well we decided to do this again for our January meeting. The book choices are The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore. We will be discussing them at 7.30pm on 16th January 2013 at The Pavilion Bar, Ruskin Leisure, Ruskin Drive, St Helens, WA10 6RP.

Sue Morris will be leading the January group. Anyone wishing to lead future group sessions, please shout.

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Book Club: September 2012 – The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

WIADMIN : October 5, 2012 12:58 pm : Book Club

The majority of the members attending the meeting had a very positive report to give on The Night Circus. Getting lost in the fantasy and being swept along with the romance of the circus was a common theme. The discussion moved onto how the book had even affected peoples dreams.

I did enjoy the book on the whole, but think my expectations  were raised a little too high and was waiting for a big bang at the end of the book. I thoroughly appreciated the imagination of the author though and was mesmerised by the descriptions of the circus. Cara – 3.5/5

Here’s what the other members had to say:

Enchanting fairy tale that I really enjoyed. Well worth a read. Rhona – 4/5

This is my favourite of the books we’ve read so far. I really enjoyed exploring the circus world. I felt there was an interesting spiritual aspect that added an unexpected depth. Kate – 4/5

This was absolutely enchanting! I got completely and beautifully lost in this book. A wonderful read. Deb – 5/5

A very enchanting book, the story is slow and gentle at first but does keep you hooked throughout. A mysterious read. Morven-4/5

Didn’t manage to finish-not sure I will. Not my sort of book – struggled with the fantasy. Helen

Loved it! So mesmerising and enchanting. Didn’t ‘read too much into it’ – perhaps because I hadn’t realised it was a book club choice. Felt almost bereft after I finished it and wondering what I could pick up next! Jen-5/5

Our next read(s) for the 21st November are the choice of The House of Silkby Anthony Horowitz, which is a new Sherlock Holmes novel and The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch. Members are invited to choose one or the other, but of course you can read both. The Last Lecture-Achieving your Childhood Dreams is a non-fiction book and the original lecture that it is based around can be viewed on You Tube here. Morven told us about this inspirational story and it is very moving. So if you don’t have chance to read the book, you can cheat and watch the live lecture.

Cathy Gibson will be leading the November book group and Sue Morris the January group. Anyone wishing to lead future group sessions, please shout.


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Book Club: July 2012 – I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

WIADMIN : July 22, 2012 6:39 pm : Book Club

Our third book club meeting saw us discussing the classic I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

The blurb describes it as:

‘I write this sitting at the kitchen sink’ is the first line of this timeless, witty  and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist after who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all there lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

The reviews were mixed for this book with some members not getting very far into it, whilst others had thoroughly relished it.

This made for some quite lively discussion about the characters and their purpose in the story.

Personally, I found the book quite difficult to get going, with it’s intricate detail and descriptions of the surroundings, but after the fur coat ‘incident’, which I thought was hilarious I really warmed to the book. A gentle and charming coming of age novel, which I think justly deserves it’s title of a classic. Cara – 4/5

Here’s what the other members thought.

A gentle captivating book with intense detail that brought the story of this eccentric family really alive. The humour is true to the narrative of the main character Cassandra, who grows on the journey of the book from a childish teenager to a maturing lady. Try it! Anne – 4.5/5

Well written – enjoyed it all! Mary – 5/5

I felt the first three quarters of the book was just an alternative version of Pride and Prejudice. However, the book picked up and found it’s own voice by the end. Kate – 3/5

I liked the book better once having discussed it at the group. Really hard to get into but glad I made myself read it! very well written, a lovely coming of age story. Deb – 3/5

I couldn’t get into this book. I found it overly descriptive, but with not much happening. I didn’t find the characters very likeable. I didn’t finish the book :0( Morven – 1/5

We discussed a number of potential books for the next meeting, taken from the Richard and Judy Summer reads collection. Hopefully offering a good summer read worthy of some great discussion in September.

We plumped for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern described as:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall Closes at Dawn. As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.

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Book Club: May 2012 – The Radleys by Matt Haig

WIADMIN : June 22, 2012 7:06 pm : Book Club

Contains spoilers so if you are intending on reading the book, read this post afterwards!

Our second meeting of the WISH book club saw a healthy turnout as usual last month, all ready to start discussing our latest read, The Radleys by Matt Haig.

Set in a Manchester suburb, The Radleys describes the life of what first seems a ‘normal family’. It soon becomes clear that The Radleys are in fact, vampires and we follow the story of how Mum, Dad, and 2 teenage children carry out their lives. There are some grizzly scenes in the book (understandable when there is quite a bit of blood being consumed?), some humour and plenty of action towards the end.

Cara asked us what our overall impression of the book was and got a mixed reaction. A number of us did not know that it was a vampire book, with some saying they wouldn’t necessarily have picked it up had they known earlier. This didn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t enjoy the read though. Those of us who have previously read vampire fiction felt it wasn’t a particularly sexy look at vampires which made a change from some vampire books. Some of the group wondered if it was so hard to believe as Manchester is so local to us.

As a group we had a some questions about the author -

  • we wondered if it was written with being made into a film in mind?
  • we wondered if Matt Haig has always been interested in vampires? There seemed a lot of knowledge in the book – we particularly liked the celebrities being named as vampires too!

Here are what the members of the group thought.

Our next book is I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. We will be discussing it on 18th July, 7.30pm at the Micklehead Pub. All are welcome.

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Book Club Review – Before I Go To Sleep: S.J. Watson

WIADMIN : April 3, 2012 10:57 am : Book Club

SJ Watson, Before I Go to sleep, Book Group, Review, WomenSo we have held our first book club meeting and what a success it was. 15 of our members attended to discuss our first book – S.J.Watson’s debut novel, Before I Go To Sleep.

The majority of our group found it a fascinating read with just 2 feeling neither positive nor negative about the book. We looked at how the book explored Christine’s life and whether realistically she might have written a synopsis of her daily diary to stop having to spend so much time each day reading it through.

We looked at how we might feel if we woke up every day having no knowledge of who we were and concluded that we found the book to be extremely well written. We all felt uncomfortable at times reading Christine’s thoughts.

Members of the group felt that perhaps Christine would just ‘know’ she was a mother but weren’t sure how she would just feel it.

When we were asked if we liked the main character, Christine, the overwhelming feeling was that we were just glad we weren’t in her position. Even more scary then that the author, after writing the book, discovered a case in the US very similar to this one.

The Ending of the book caused great discussion in that most of us would have been disappointed if everything had turned out completely fine. We did agree that we wanted a sequel to find out what happened next!

All-in-all a super choice for our first book group read and so onto book number 2…

We had a discussion about what we might like to read next and decided we vote on some suggestions, so over to you, voting closes on Monday 9th April so we can announce the winning book at the next meeting.


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First WISH Book Club Choice – Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

WIADMIN : February 11, 2012 7:43 pm : Book Club

Thanks to everyone who signed up for the Book Club, we had a huge interest. Our first book will be SJ Watson’s Before I go to Sleep.  It is currently a Richard & Judy Book Club choice and was also the Channel 4 TV Book Group first read. It was reviewed on their programme last Sunday,view it here at 12 mins into the programme.

It’s had great reviews and is described as a gripping first novel. As it is featured in both those prominent book clubs it is currently available in WHSmith, Tesco’s etc for about half the retail price approx £3.99, also Amazon and £2.70 on Kindle.

I did try and secure us some further group discount but as it’s been so popular nowhere has been able to provide a significant number in one go. So it’s over to you, I know some of you couldn’t wait and have already got the book. For the rest of you, if you can go ahead and source the book and get going.

We plan to hold the Book Club every two months initially and see if that frequency suits most people. We can change if people want to have it more often in the future.
We will meet on the third Wednesday of the month, all the dates are listed here on the brand new (and rather bare at the moment) WISH website

The first meeting will be Wednesday 21st March to give us all chance to get through the book. We are going to meet at the Micklehead Pub at 7.30pm.
We can discuss what our future reading list will be on the 21st, so if you have any burning recommendations then please bring them along.

About the book

Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamilar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamilary, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories. But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, which directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities-tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scentes from her former life-and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before th accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory? Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more un-believable it seems.

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[...] it more often in the future. We will meet on the third Wednesday of the month, all the dates are listed here on the brand new (and rather bare at the moment) WISH [...]

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