Warwick Books Book Group
September 15th, 2014
We met at the Old Punch Bowl Inn in Warwick on Wednesday 2nd September. The book under discussion was “Cider With Rosie” by Laurie Lee. Coincidentally “The Times” that day ran an article about the countryside where the book is set, which is now under threat. Laurie Lee’s family are working hard to protect the area so evocatively remembered in his book.
At the start of the discussion, most members of the group said they didn’t particularly like the book. The language is too flowery, some people didn’t like the characters, etc etc but as we discussed it, everybody picked out their favourite bits, descriptions of characters such as Lee’s mother and the vividness of the clandestine meeting with Rosie to drink illicit cider, the beauty of the descriptions of the landscape etc. In the end we all decided we had enjoyed it after all, and would definitely recommend the book to a friend!
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 1st October when we will be discussing “Restless” by William Boyd – a thrilling spy story.
On Wednesday 5th November we will be discussing Hosseini’s lyrical collection
of linked short stories “And the Mountain’s Echoed”.
One of the group brought along to the meeting a book by Bill Bryson, and quite
a few of the group confessed to never having read any of his books, so our
December read is the very funny “Notes from a Small Island”. This book follows
Bryson’s insightful journey round Britain describing us from an outsider’s
point of view. Written in the early years of his British experience, this is a
good start for anyone who hasn’t read any of his books before.
Another author who was mentioned and not many of us had read was Beryl
Bainbridge so we have chosen “An Awfully Big Adventure” for our January read.
The meeting will be on Wednesday January 7th
Kenilworth Books Book Group
May 30th, 2014
Meets at the Virgin and Castle Pub, High Street, Kenilworth,
4th Tuesday of every month 7.30 p.m. till about 9.30 p.m.
20th May: Note date changed
Under Milk Wood (Dylan Thomas)
One Night in Winter (Simon Sebag Montefiore)
24th June: Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
Cannery Row (John Steinbeck)
22nd July: Villette (Charlotte Bronte)
We are an informal and friendly group. Do come along and join us! Ring Victoria Lee on 0790 8899250, Kenilworth Books on 01926 855784 or see www.warwickbooks.net for more information.
Warwick Books Book Group
May 24th, 2014
We met on Wednesday 23rd April to talk about “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent.. Based on actual events, this dark novel follows the story of Agnes Magnusdotter who is condemned to death for her part in the murder of her lover. This book was shortlisted fot the Guardian First Book Award and all the group thought this was one of the best books we had ever read as a group. The gripping cold and formidable landscapes of Iceland are wonderfully portrayed. The consensus was that this was an inspired choice and compelling read, certainly to be recommended.
This was in stark contrast to our previous choice of the Alice Munro short story collection, “Dear Life” Some of these stories were quite enjoyable but none of them particularly memorable and we had a hard time understanding the rave reviews this book received.
Our next meeting will be on May 28th when we will be discussing “Spring Tide” a Scandinavian thriller by a husband and wife team, Cilla and Rolf Borjlind. This book opens with a woman buried up to her neck in sand on a Swedish beach on the night of a Spring Tide. The tide gradually comes in sweeping over the entrapped woman until it covers all of her…… . The story itself starts some years later with a young woman trainee police officer being assigned this unsolved case to investigate informally as a training exercise. What she uncovers is, of course, dark and dangerous!
The June meeting has actually been postponed to July 2nd when we will be discussing Ernest Hemmingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Set during the Spanish Civil War with a young American fighting on the Republican side. Hemingway went to Spain during the Civil War and this book reflects some of the things he saw while he was there.
The July meeting is scheduled for July 30th when we will be discussing Kate Atkinson’s latest paperback “Life after Life”
All our meetings are held at the Old Punchbowl Inn in Warwick and we start at 6.00pm and chat for about an hour. Do come along and join us.
Warwick Books Book Group
March 27th, 2014
We meet on Wednesday evenings at 6.00pm at “The Punchbowl Inn” which is at the corner of The Butts and Priory Road in Warwick. (www.punchbowlwarwick.co.uk) Thanks to Claire and Ellie for making us so welcome.
We usually have quite a light-hearted discussion of the book we have been reading – characters we warmed to or hated , bits we particularly liked (or didn’t like), whether or not we enjoyed the book and if we would recommend it to a friend. We also talk about books we have recently read and often this leads to ideas for our next few choices for discussion. The meetings last for between an hour and one and half hours. New members are always welcome.
Recent discussions have covered JL Carr’s “A Month in the Country” which everyone loved, both for its poetic prose and gentle evocation of a time long gone, and “An Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett, another very short novel. This one is funny and the reader can almost hear the voice of Alan Bennett in the gentle prose. It also poses a serious question about the role of fiction in the modern world. This was voted extremely enjoyable, even by one of the group who is not usually a Bennett fan!
The March meeting is to be held on Wednesday 26th and we will be discussing Alice Munro’s collection of short stories, “Dear Life”
Warwick Books Book Group
November 21st, 2013
On 25th September we met at the Old Punch Bowl Inn in Warwick. The book for that month was “Restoration” by Rose Tremain. Set in the reign of Charles 11, it tells the story of Merivel who quickly becomes a favourite of the King in his glittering Court. The King asks Merivel to marry one of his mistresses and keep her safely from the Court. Celia, the lady in question, is not the sort of woman who appeals to Merival but he agrees to the marriage and the gifts that go with the arrangement.
Sadly for him, though, he does come to fall in love with Celia, she does not return his ardour and, from this disaster, things get even worse for Merivel
The whole group enjoyed the book, which falls into three parts – the rise of Merivel and the wedding, the fall of Merivel, and afterwards. The first part is light-hearted and amusing but the book gradually darkens and becomes quite sad. There are wonderful descriptions of the madhouse where Merivel takes shelter and the period is brought vividly to life. There is a follow-up book by Tremain which several of the group had read and we would recommend both to a friend.
Frances & Keith were away on holiday in October when the group discussed, “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel. This Booker-winning novel has won high praise and is a little more accessible than the equally successful “Wolf Hall”. It was interesting to compare the two historical novels, “Wolf Hall” and “Restoration”, one peopled entirely by “real” historical characters having imaginary conversations and thoughts and the other with mainly fictional characters set against a well documented historical context.
Our next meeting (at The Old Punchbowl Inn again) will be on Wednesday 20th November at 6.00pm. We will be discussing Michael Frayn’s “Spies” in which an elderly man looks back on his war-time childhood with his friend, Keith. The boys become convinced that Keith’s mother is a German Spy and start to follow her and spy on her themselves. They discover that she really does have a secret to keep although she is not a spy. Is this a coming of age book? (It has been compared with “What Maisie Knew”) a humorous book? (Keith’s Mother’s “suspicious” activities are pretty humdrum) a memoir? (Frayn himself was brought up in a suburb during the war) or a mixture of all three?
The December meeting is to be on Wednesday 11th December when we will be discussing Colm Toibin’s “Testament of Mary”. We have also provisionally arranged a Christmas meal at the Punchbowl afterwards and so we really have to have an idea of numbers. If you cannot come to the meeting on 20th November and want to come to the meal, please e-mail Frances ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can finalise numbers with “The Punchbowl”.
Looking forward to seeing you all.